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September 4, 2007 | 4 Comments

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.


Corn dogs? We called them Hot Dogs
on a Stick at the Los Angeles County
Fair. They were served from a trailer
by high school girls (usually blonde)
with striped uniforms and tall
hats. The aroma of fried grease still brings
back memories. Another treat? Frozen
bananas dipped in chocolate and covered
with nuts or ??? at the Balboa Pavilion.
Wish I could still eat those tasty
treats...bran muffins aren't the same!

Has anyone studied the effects of all these deep fried treats on obesity in America? Did it all start in Minnesota at the State Fair?

How in the world does one fry Coca Cola?

My mother had such a tight rein on all of us both authoritatively and monetarily that I did not even taste cotton candy (bad for your teeth!!!!)
until I went off to college. The highest ideals were never put on hold for small pleasures....but I understand...Mom was just trying to be a good mom, you have to watch out for that "slippery slope" and hey, I do have pretty good teeth..

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