Fatty fantasies: Erie County Fair fried food
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • August 08, 2012 @ 9:53pm
From Buffalo.com’s experience on the opening day of the Erie County Fair, it’s clear that carnival vendors are more than willing to deep-fry anything. While deep-fried garlic mashed potatoes and a deep-fried Reese’s cheesecake nearly made the cut, Kat and Ben T. managed to narrow down the four most creative fried foods that the fair has to offer.
1) Deep-fried butter, $5: Honestly, sampling the deep-fried butter was the goal of our mission. From our raging curiosity to know how fried butter is actually created to our speculation about the flavor, we were panting. Okay, we weren’t panting, but the dish that Paula Deen heartily endorses definitely captured our fancy.
Morris Concessions and Catering was the hot-spot for deep-fried exploration, and the employees were kind enough to let us film the process.
Honestly, once I got past the fact that I was munching/licking/slurping pure butter, it wasn’t so bad. The slab came topped with sugar, and the mixture of melted butter, deep-fried breading and sugar was pleasant for a few bites. If you do try this out, I’d advise sharing, since it’s very, very rich and coats your throat with a thick glaze. I asked Kat to dare me to drink the 1/2 inch of standing melted butter on the bottom of the cardboard holder in return for $15, but she wouldn’t budge.
2) Deep-fried Kool-Aid, $5: Kool-Aid mascot—creepy or just innocently friendly? Anyhow, the same concession stand took a pre-made batter of Kool-Aid mix, flour and water, and dunked several globs into the deep-fryer. Now, I wish that the stand would take the time to form the globs into larger balls, because the mix is tossed into the fryer haphazardly, and the result is several smaller strings that taste just like fried dough and not Kool-Aid.
Once you dig the larger fried morsels out from under the powdered sugar, you’ll find that the Kool-Aid inside is pretty delicious—you just have to wade through the smaller pieces to get there. Best quote came from Kat: “It’s like calamari for children!”
3) Hot dog wrapped in bacon, served inside of a glazed doughnut, $5: If you’ve surfed through Facebook memes recently, you’ll believe that bacon is loved by seemingly everyone on the planet. And bacon, at its best, can brighten any dish. By itself, the hot dog wrapped in chewy bacon was fine—the glazed bun was a little over the top (much like everything in this article!).
You may spend the first few minutes after completion wiping the sticky sugar from your hands—which, frankly, was annoying—and the sweet finish to the ‘dog wasn’t worth the sticky hassle. If you’ve jumped on the sweet-salty mixture bandwagon, then by all means—go for this, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
4) Deep-fried peanut butter and jelly, $5: By the time we arrived at the fourth and final deep-fried delectable, we were a little chubbier and unsure that we had the appetite to continue. We watched as the vendor snagged Smucker’s Uncrustables (not the sugar-free ones in the link, mind you) and plopped them into the hot oil. Maybe we didn’t give the deep-fried PB&J its due. Still, after bringing the food back to the office—you’re right, we wimped out—Ben K. was oddly satisfied, and this, while definitely super rich, messy and quite share-able, was probably the most tame food option we tried.
Here are some photos of fried photos that, alas, didn’t make our tough cut.
We’ll finish with some massive turkey legs, because since you made it this far, you earned it: