On Monday, October 18, I took on my greatest food challenge yet by way of the North Carolina State Fair. The fair provides an annual outlet for the citizens of NC to eat deep fried food with glee, until the buttons of their jeans (if you are foolish enough to wear denim) burst.
I started my adventure with a “Pig Licker,” which, horrifyingly enough, is bacon on a stick covered in milk and white chocolate (for no extra cost, add sprinkles!) The initial taste of sweet chocolate was quickly flattened by the overpowering taste of bacon, creating a staggering sensory explosion.
The Krispy Kreme burger is a viable option for the fair-goer who would prefer to go home on a stretcher than in their own car. The sandwich, while priced at a whopping $7, gives you more bang for your buck by offering the possibility of a diabetic coma and simultaneous cardiac arrest all rolled into one hand-held Surgeon General’s warning.
After a few ill-advised snacks, I found it wise to invest in a palette cleanser of NC State University vanilla ice cream. The dessert may seem expensive at $4 a cup, but the amount provided is easily enough for two and one of the true culinary masterpieces available at the fair. The ice cream is created and manufactured right here in the Triangle on the NCSU campus and is served by current students.
While standing in line for the ice cream, I spoke to other food-adventurous fair goers, one of whom had tried the fried alligator on a stick. The young lady found that it did NOT taste like chicken but described it sparingly as “gamey.” While she didn’t know about the fat and calorie content of alligator, I cannot imagine it will be billed as “the other white meat” any time soon.
The deep fried Reese’s Cups were easily the MVP of NC State Fair 2010, with a perfect balance of crisp breading to gooey chocolate and peanut butter. While $4 may seem like a high price, the dish is made up of 3 cups which makes it a dish to share. The $2 bottled water is a wise investment, as are handfuls of napkins, which are graciously free.
There are traditional routes that many annually take at the fair. For those of you with State Fair favorites, be it cotton candy, roasted corn, or a Philly Cheese Steak – there is a way to try new things while essentially sticking to your roots. This is possible by the Philly Cheese Ostrich, which at $8 fills your “ethnic foods” quota during your State Fair trip.
There are also healthy alternatives at the State Fair. For vegetarians who still desire food dripping in grease and served on a stick, deep fried vegetable kiosks can be found scattered throughout the fair. Or, help yourself to a cup of Yogen Fruz, for $4 (and advertised probiotics!)
In an attempt to walk off my mega-meal, I took the traditional walk around the Exposition Center to observe the prize-winning vegetables and NCSU cows. As I pondered the 800-pound pumpkin, corn-dog in hand, I wondered: How much oil would it take to deep fry this?
When my fair adventure had come and gone, I was curious as to how much damage I had done to my life expectancy. After a few calculations and horrified looks from health-nut Elisabeth Jones, I found my calorie count for the evening to be 4,245 and 199 grams of fat. While disappointed that I did not surpass my total from 2009’s fair, I was proud that I had managed to, in one evening, consume over 2 days’ worth of calories.
Overall, the fair proved to be a successful culinary smorgasbord of foodstuffs for those willing to sacrifice several days worth of calories in one outing.
Virginia Reed is a superb writer and an even better friend. She enjoys unhealthy foods and writing sarcastic articles. Virginia is the Online Editor for the 2011-12 school year and was a Managing Editor for the 2010-11 year but has not forgotten her humble beginnings as a staff writer when she was a wee sophomore. Her goals for the future are to get an A in newspaper and to apply to college in a timely fashion.