Sunday, October 7, 2007

How can you stand behind Rush Limbhog?

I completely forgot to mention the piglet races. They were alright, I felt like I was being duped. We entered the Livestock arena about 10 minutes early, corn-y dogs in tow. What followed was a what I would call a bad comedy show with pigs, not exactly a piglet race. There were two guys in big overalls and giant clown shoes jumping around like hill billies, talking about the piglets. The stadium was divided into 4 sections, and each section was given a pig to root for. I didn't appreciate having my democratic vote taken away from me, so I was wary from the beginning, and I certainly didn't cheer aloud for a pig that was forced upon me.

They ran them in different "heats." First came the celebrity pig heat, the four pigs were Jean-Claude Van Ham, Arnold Schwartzenhogger, Sylvester Staloin, and our sections pig... Rush Limbhog. I was so disappointed. How could Rush Limbhog stand a chance against all these heavy hitting action heroes?? Jean-Claude Van Ham took home the gold. In the musician pig heat, we had N'Stink, Christina Hoguilera, Squeally Nelson and our sections Elvis Pigsley. I can and did stand behind Elvis. Unfortunately, N'Stink won. Those boy bands.

In any case, I felt that we'd been had. I've performed at State Fairs before, and I know how to work a crowd. We were being worked and I didn't like it. Furthermore, these were not piglets, as we were promised, but full-fledged pigs. I wanted piglets, like the one in the cart pictured above. We've been had.

"I think the caffeine is totally ruining the sweet buzz I had going...."

The title line was overheard at the deep-fried latte stand at the fair last night.

I should say before I disclose the events of last night, that fairs in general make me anxious and usually I get depressed during/after the event. There are many reasons for this.

1. Carnies. They are a source of both anxiety and sadness for me. Anxiety because I always feel rude walking away when someone is talking to me and as you know, the barkers always talk to you as you pass in an attempt to lure you into giving them your money so that you can never succeed at whatever seemingly simple task they put before you. They're always deceptively simple, the tasks! All you have to do is fish this rubber-ducky out of the pond... all you have to do is hit one balloon with a dart.... Don't do it! And it always turns into some show of masculinity too. Whatever man is walking around with four large stuffed basketballs and a gigantic Homer Simpson fancies himself to be the most virile and eligible bachelor at the fair. But I digress... Carnies.

The anxiety is coupled with sadness because they are in such a joyful environs... and are usually very much over it and also are missing teeth. Last night the lady who took our tickets for the Texas Star (pictured above) was wearing white colored contacts. It terrified me but I couldn't look away. Now my imagination will have pupil-only sad-clowns dancing around, and I may never be able to go to the fair again.

2. The number of crying children that are always at the fair also depresses me. Parents are incapable of ever possessing enough tickets to satiate these children. No matter how many hundreds of dollars you spend on Funnel Cakes and foam hats and fun houses, they will never have enough.

OK... on to the fair.....

For the first time EVER I woke up this morning full of remorse for my decision to stop eating when I was full. I showed a regrettable abundance of discretion last night and purchased only two deep fried items for consumption at the fair. After much deliberation I decided that I would have to get at Fletcher's Corn-y Dog and deep fried cookie dough. These were delicious in many ways:

Fletcher's Corn-y Dogs are so tasty! the cornbread is slightly sweet and so crispy on the outside. If ever a hot dog had the opportunity to cross-over into the realm of dessert, this is it. And, let's be honest, that's why I love it so much. I've discussed this with Drake extensively. In my mind, the only food worth cooking is dessert, because that's the only and most delicious food. Dinner is a big waste of time, because dessert is going to be soooo much better. We went to a restaurant with Josh and Erin (pictured above, with corn-y dogs) where the slogan was "Cake is Love". That is precisely how I feel.

Deep Fried Cookie Dough:
I CANNOT overstress the amount of time devoted to obsessing over what this might taste like and how it's prepared. I have spent hours a day trying to imagine it. It was everything I'd hoped for. AND! It came in a flaming race car (as you can see). The standers-by at the fried cookie dough stand were a little bit taken aback by my enthusiasm (in general this seems to be the case in most dessert situations). A rather drunk gentleman asked if I needed to take his seat. I didn't. I had work to do. My car arrived with three hot balls of deep-fried dough. These are not breaded or dipped in any kind of coating. The dough is spooned into the oil basin and that's that. It is served with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar in a cardboard automobile. I think the car is just for flair, but it did manage to up my anticipation level and make me feel like I was about to eat something really special. Which I was. Crispy fried cookie outside. soft doughy dough inside. so. delicious.

I won't pretend that those two items were all that I ate. I had one non-deep-fried-item- skewered chocolate-dipped strawberries. Also, I did sample Danny's Frito Pie, which was pretty delicious, and Josh's funnel cake with strawberries, which was more delicious than any funnel cake I have ever had (call them fried dough, call them elephant ears--this was the best.) I also tried Drake's deep-fried latte, which was a series of deep fried pastry dough with coffee ice cream, whipped cream and espresso powder. Very nice!

Like I said, I was very disappointed in the discretion I showed in not purchasing the red beans and rice and the Jack's French Fries. I guess I have to have a reason to go back some day. My other reason to return is that Big Tex doesn't talk at night!! He only talks during the day! He's also WAAAAY creepier than I thought. His chest is built for a man 3 times his size (which, at 75 feet, would be huge). He also holds his hands in a strange contorted way, leading one to think of a deranged puppet. It was difficult to capture at night, but I've done what I could. Come to think of it, it's probably best that Big Tex didn't talk last night. Between deranged puppet and white eyed carnies, I can't guarantee that I wouldn't have grabbed my fried dough balls and made a run for it.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Get Ready for Big Tex

I am getting ready for the State Fair of Texas this weekend. Preparations include:
running every day, looking through the food options, selecting magicians, jugglers, acrobats, and rodeo clowns to view. Also I must choose the piglet that I will route for in Saturday's race.

To your left is "Big Tex". Some of you may not know him. Big Tex has greeted visitors as they enter the fairgrounds since 1952. The 52-foot tall talking cowboy wears size 70 boots, a 75-gallon hat, and is proof that everything's bigger in Texas.

Obviously, the most important part is the food. Does one select the deep fried peach cobbler on a stick? Corn-y Dogs (Yes, corn-y dogs, not corn dogs, and don't make a big deal about it either, it's a tender topic.)

Here are some of the top contenders:
Texas Fried Cookie Dough. Fresh cookie dough, made from scratch with pecans, chocolate chips and coconut, lightly battered and deep-fried. Topped with chocolate syrup or whipped cream.

Deep Fried Latte. A delicately fried, light puff pastry, with a hint of coffee, is topped with cappuccino ice cream, sweet syrup, whipped cream and instant coffee sprinkles.

Fernie's Fried Chili Frito Burrito. A flour tortilla, dipped in chicken broth for extra flavor, loaded up with a heaping spoonful of spicy Texas chili & smashed Chili Cheese Fritos and deep fried until golden.

B.W.'s Original Fried Banana Pudding. Chilled, specially-made banana pudding is ladled into a grilled tortilla and fried to a crisp golden brown, dusted with powdered sugar while warm, then surrounded by a cloud of whipped topping.

Zesty Fried Guacamole Bites. Creamy avocado mixed with cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses and salsa is dipped in a zesty batter and fried to perfection.Served with ranch dressings or salsa.

Mama's Fried Sweet Potato Pie. A generous portion of third-generation-recipe sweet potato pie filling is spread on a soft flour tortilla and lightly fried to a crisp. Served plain or with a light sprinkle of cinnamon and powdered sugar.

I'm not sure if there are any non-deep-fried options. But who cares. If it hasn't been lightly breaded and deep fried, Big Tex ain't servin' it.

I feel like I should hold out on some of this information so that I have something to write about after the fair--SO I will not tell you about the piglet races until I can give you a first-hand account.