Drinking the fried Kool-Aid

It would appear that Americans are desperate for new types of fried food. French fried potatoes, deep-fried Twinkies, fried sugar dough just aren’t enough. I do admire the entrepreneurship of the creator of deep fried Kool-Aid.

But really?

Must we fry Kool-Aid?

Many believe these types of foods are essential to a State Fair experience. I’m not going to mention that the inexpensiveness and overabundance of this sort of stuff has driven the average American to succumb to a heart attack on a plate mentality that benefits no one. Except, of course, the producers of said product. And health insurance companies. Because it’s such a downer at the State Fair to think about what one is eating – really – and then consider how many of our children are overweight, undernourished, and… yep. Depressing. I won’t go there too much today.

Food for thought: I think those frisbee-sized plates of fried dough are called Funnel Cakes. My husband insists that they are Elephant Ears. Anyone know the difference?

I’m not a health nut, and I think it’s perfectly fine to enjoy a sugar- and/or fat-laden treat once in a while. My favorite fair food is hot, deep-fried asparagus. But after spending a day at the Oregon State Fair with my parents and my boys, I find myself a teensy bit disgusted at the gluttony that is inspired by all of the unhealthy fair food.

That’s the bad stuff.

Now here’s the good stuff.

The first unofficial Oregon State Fair took place in 1858. Year after year it’s been a smashing success, a carnival of colors and sounds and tastes. The fair is rich with flavor and full of energy and magic.

Go to a Fair for unbelievable people-watching and learning. Observe the animals as they are guided by gentle and confident 4-H youth in rings and barns.

I’m not crafty, but the worksmanship of the quilts and other crafts is stunning. Check out prize winning preserves. Buy an overpriced plastic trinket. You won’t regret it.

I’m a sucker for free stuff and giveaways. I love being tempted to try my luck by throwing a golf ball into a fish bowl in order to win a gigantic panda bear imported from China (and I never win).

When I was a teenager,  I would have had my fortune told by a bespectacled woman draped in rainbow scarves, wrinkled and wise.

Your kids will learn and they won’t even know it. Exhibits on energy and natural resources, tender,  exquisite fruits and vegetables are preserved in old-fashioned jelly jars. Deep blue ribbons are placed on the best contenders with pride.

Some say that the magic of the fair begins at dusk. The ferris wheel sparkles grandly as the music begins under the stars. Beer gardens are crowded. Girls strut in their tightest jeans, highest heels and blink blue glitter eyeshadow at guys in t-shirts and cut-offs and tattoos (I swear I saw this – I think the 80s are truly back).

The mood is hot and happy at a State Fair (even if your child begins to meltdown). Unfortunately we always leave as crowds of young romantics and older families come in through the gates, ready to party. With little kids, it’s too much to go on after a certain hour.

Fairgoers are full of life, even if they do drink the Fried Kool-Aid. We’ll be back next year. Thanks, Oregon, for showing us such a good time this week.

P.S. I bought my kids a bag of blue cotton candy, but I didn’t let them finish it. Mean, I know. I told them we had to save some for their dad and stashed it in my mother’s purse. They licked the blue sugary stuff off of their fingers as we walked to the dusty field of cars at the end of the day. And they were asleep in less than five minutes as we drove home. Bliss.

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3 thoughts on “Drinking the fried Kool-Aid

  1. souldipper says:

    Sadly, the taste buds become addicted so quickly to those unhealthy oils used in fried whatever. It’s like a magic spell. When I asked my Doc what caused my Osteo, she said, “Whatever you ate up to the age of 10.” Argggg. That meant I didn’t eat stuff that would have been good. We didn’t have access to much junk food. For that, I am grateful – I hate to think of what I’d be dealing with otherwise as an older woman. But, as a kid, I just knew we are invincible! :D

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