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September 4, 2007 |
Dear Mr. Keillor-
Our California State Fair does not offer deep-fried cheese curds but this year we have deep-fried Coca-Cola, in addition to deep-fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, a chicken breast deep-fried in a Krispy Kreme doughnut and other dubious treats.When and where did this tradition begin?
As I recall, it began with the corn dog, or Pronto Pup, back in the early Fifties. I can remember buying them when I was ten or eleven, a great novelty, ordinary franks on sticks dipped in batter and then deep-fried and brushed with mustard. The fried crust replaced the bun, of course, and was crispy and hot, not soggy and bland, and they rapidly caught on. And then vendors tried to ride the coattails of Pronto Pup by dipping anything they could think of in batter and deep-frying it. Candy bars, ice cream, even fruit. The one they've missed is green tomatoes, which could be very very good. My mother used to dip slices of green tomato in a cornmeal batter and fry them up and they were fabulous.