It seems that just about anything can be dipped in batter and lowered into a vat of hot oil, and that is basically what the vendors count on who set up shop at state fairs. We are a nation hooked on deep fried foods, from pickle chips to mac and cheese balls, which all may have started with our love of french fries and ketchup decades ago. While fried foods are nothing new, what we dip in batter and fry seems to get more outrageous each year. Here is just a short list of the newest (over-priced) offerings you can expect if you attend a county or state fair:
Krispy Kreme Hamburger – two KK glazed donuts housing a burger, instead of the old boring bun the original White Castle slider – dipped in batter and deep fried (almost a sacrilege)
Koolickles – you can get a drink and a snack all-in-one (pickle chips soaked in K-A then battered and deep fried)
Chicken-fried bacon – a new twist on an old favorite, for those hooked on breakfast meat
Deep Fried S’Mores – no marshmallow toasting required
Cheese stuffed whole pickle on a stick, battered and deep fried – does this count as a veggie?
Pop-tarts – a late breakfast
Hard-boiled egg – after frying, you can always wrap it in a slice of bread and you’ve got another late breakfast
Mashed potato balls – served with gravy, when french fries just don’t cut it
Cola balls – dough injected with cola, then battered and fried (like getting a beverage for free)
Funnel cakes – with new funky toppings and syrups
Stuffed corn dogs – for those who still like their corn dogs but want to expand their horizons
Oreo cookies – part of the cookies ‘n creme craze
Beer-battered burger – do you add the ketchup and mustard before or after?
Deep fried candy bars – Twix, Snickers and Goo Goo Clusters are most popular
Bubble gum – it lasts longer because you can keep chewing
Sriracha chicken and waffle sliders – cashing in on the sriracha and slider popularity paired with an old Southern stand-by
Cotton candy – doesn’t it dissolve in the heat of the oil?
Deep fried Jello – there’s always room for Jello
Pizza – why ruin a good thing?
Chicken noodle soup – probably not like mom’s
Pretzels – first dipped in beer, then batter
Butter balls – when you just can’t get enough cholesterol
Jelly beans – you can choose one flavor or assorted
Elvis on a Stick: a deep fried banana-battered peanut butter cup with bacon
And the old standbys, which seem to pale by comparison (all of them batter dipped and deep fried, of course):
Zucchini and mozzarella sticks
Ice cream bars
Mac and cheese balls – well, heck, you can buy those frozen at Trader Joe’s
(Author’s note: even though this has been an interesting, as always, article to research and write, she is feeling a little queasy and is going to end this list.)
If none of these appeals to you, somewhere you will be able to hunt down a plain old hot dog on a regular bun, with mustard, and a freshly squeezed lemonade, which you can enjoy among disapproving eyes from the masses. But hold your ground. Some of our most beloved snack foods got their start at World’s Fairs over a century ago and nobody sneered.