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October 24, 2010

Deep-Fried Fun Flourishes at State Fair

by Steve Baragona

Fun at the fair means rides, exhibits and contests but wear loose-fitting clothes with a belt that expands

The North Carolina State Fair is under way in the capital city of Raleigh. If you were there, you'd see lots of exhibits about good nutrition, and could sample wholesome farm dishes made from healthful recipes.

But most of the other fair-goers would be pigging out across the way at the concession stands - a heaven on earth for gluttons.

We're not just talking greasy French fries, sugary cotton candy, and caramel-dipped apples. These folks make fattening items even more artery-clogging by deep-frying them in lard or oil.

Here are just some of the foods offered for sale at the North Carolina State Fair:

Spicy, deep-fried turkey wings, deep-fried chocolate pie, deep-fried pumpkin pie, and deep-fried chocolate-chip cookies.  Somewhere on the grounds, you'll probably also find the old state-fair staple - deep-fried ice cream, or maybe deep-fried pickles. 

Or you can try chocolate-covered Twinkie logs.  Twinkies are spongy cakes shaped like gold ingots, filled with a sugary cream-like substance.  No dairy products in them!  Add the chocolate covering, and call your dentist in the morning.

Consider deep-fried bacon-and-cheese mashed potato bites. Or honey buns: rolled dough spread with sugar, nuts and honey, and then - you guessed it - deep-fried.  

Before washing those down with some sweet lemonade, make room for a fried Frito pie.  There are already about 500 calories in a small bag of these salty corn chips.  At the fair, they crunch 'em up into a pie crust, fill it with who-knows-what, and, of course, fry it in the ever-present vat of oil. 

VOA's agriculture reporter, Steve Baragona, normally writes about, eats, and even grows healthful foods.  But he's a sucker for fried food from the fair.  

His eyes lit up when he heard about this year's special in North Carolina: Krispy Kreme burgers.  Krispy Kremes are airy doughnuts, deep-fried and doused with sugary glaze.  Put one on each side of a fried burger, and you've got a cardiology classic.

I can't quite picture the taste of those two together, Steve said.  But dip 'em in batter and deep fry 'em, and you have something there!