Friday, July 22, 2011

Let's Eat! Fair Food Trends

Fried Kool-Aid
Fried Kool-Aid. Sounds rather gruesome, no? Initially I thought that this confection consisted of pure Kool-Aid powder slightly dampened, pressed together and dropped into a vat of bubbling, heart-stopping, low-level oil. Well, the part about the vegetable oil is true anyway. Fried Kool-Aid is more like a cherry Kool-Aid flavored hushpuppy. And the flavor of cherry is subtle, not as sugary to the palate as expected.

And those plump little fried creations were actually quite filling. I only had two; a full serving is five. They served as a quick mid-afternoon snack in-between my visits to the The Ice Museum, and the Alaskan Pig Races.

All this went down at the local county fair yesterday. As I strolled through the fair, walking off the countless calories packed on by the fried Kool-Aid, I couldn’t help noticing all the varieties of foods available for consumption. Are you a foodie?  This is the place to be!

Texas-sized Turkey Legs
Some edibles were healthy, some not; hey, it’s a fair; you need some of that adventurous “bad” stuff. Just kidding. The array of delights ranged from outrageous to ho-hum and trendy to more “classic”. Highlights included non-fat frozen yogurt, fried zucchini; Texas-sized sausage and turkey legs, cupcakes, bacon covered in chocolate, and sushi (Note: Ate none of these this year). A far cry from the choices available at turn of the century fairs. Think about it. Caramel apples were once new, exciting, and radical! So were hot dogs.

Hot dogs, that good old-fashioned staple, were nowhere to be seen, though I expect that they were available somewhere. Caramel apples appeared to be absent as well, except in photos at an exhibit that tastefully took you through the food trends at the fair, tying into the theme this year of “Let’s Eat”.

But what was missing? Uh, any postings of nutritional information, of course.  But that’s not the point. The objective here is to attract that consumer, hopefully major foodies, who after paying $11 admission, still has a pocketful of cash and plans on having a great time stuffing themselves on “fine” food and fighting dizziness on the rides. And if that consumer brought an entire brood with them, all the better. Bright colors at the stand, pumping music, eye-catching illustrations, smoke rising from the grill are all part of the methodology to lure those hungry folks.

Some culinary highlights
And perhaps that’s not enough anymore. That’s where the outrageous comes in. Don’t you want to be the first to try something new? After all, weren't you one of the first to have that brand new vehicle when it was introduced? You early adopter you! Imagine telling your friends “I had fried butter at the fair, and it was delicious.” Be one of the first and grab those bragging rights!

One problem though; if you have it once, will you try it again next year? Nah. Those fried Oreos from two years ago are so yesterday! And that’s the prediciment fried Kool-aid will face in a couple of years. Oh, there will be some people that will still want to try it, but it won’t be the latest water cooler subject.

Hmmm….so what WILL they be talking about next year? Here’s a few ideas: Cupcakes with pulled pork filling, hot dogs with Marshmallow Fluff on top, peanut butter and fried kiwi on a bun, calamari dipped in chocolate…are you hungry yet?


Anonymous said...

Not even slightly tempted.

Anonymous said...

I love to go to the fairs! In Alabama we have sausages with fried onions and bell peppers on a bun, funnel cakes, always turkey legs.

But I figure, only in California will you find sushi at the fair!!!!

Great blog! you made me hungry though.

Mary in Alabama