Friday, July 30, 2010

New York's County Fair Food

It's hot and sticky and miserable outside, so obviously it must be time for the county fair.

In Ohio, that is.

If I were still a reporter in Springfield, I would have spent each day this week at the Clark County Fair. It was one of my favorite weeks of the year. I not only got to write fun features, but also eat all the fried food I wanted for lunch.

My love of the fair started long before then. I was in 4-H from the third grade until I graduated high school, and my family would bring the pop-up camper to stay overnight at the fair and make my (and later, my sister's) 4-H and Junior Fair Board responsibilities easier to manage. The Defiance County Fair was the last big hurrah before school started the following week.

Our family also often went to the Ohio State Fair, and Paul and I returned a couple of times in college and after we graduated. But I haven't been to a fair of any shape or size for three years now. It might be a record.

When July and August rolls around, however, I always crave some good fair food. And by "good" I mean fried, fattening and ginormous. Luckily, I can get a lot of the same stuff around here -- although admittedly not all in one place, and never next to a cattle barn.

Clark County Fair food-alikes: There's a hole-in-the-wall near Union Square that sells fried Oreos, and an English restaurant here in Brooklyn with fried candy bars on the menu. Alas, it would be hard to beat the fair's cinnamon rolls, so I guess Cinnabon will have to do.

Defiance County Fair: We would get a big bag of freshly made donuts every year. Now Paul and I make our own and they're just as good. But I do miss the apple dumplings, and of course the strawberry shakes from the Shake Shack, where I toiled many hours at the fair, trying to eat just as many as I sold.

Ohio State Fair: The food wasn't as memorable here, although we always did have to get some ice cream in the pavilion with the butter statues -- always a life-size cow and a couple of other objects that varied. Sometimes we'd also get a bloomin' onion. Here in New York, Paul introduced me to Dallas BBQ's onion loaf, which is possibly even greasier and therefore even tastier.

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