Deep-fried Mars bars, Oreos, cakes, burgers; these artery-clogging treats have become the norm at American state fairs. Once a social gathering to exhibit livestock and farm produce, the state fair has recently become a deep-frying competition to see what type of confectionary can cause a heart attack the quickest. Anything edible that can possibly be imagined in the human mind has been deep-fried at these exhibitions. Anything. Even butter.
Deep-fried butter on a stick has been a popular hit this year at the Iowa State Fair. Frozen butter is dipped into a sugary cinnamon batter, then deep-fried for three minutes until golden brown, and finally topped with a sugar glaze. A serving has supposedly around 1000 calories and 105 grams of fat. That’s two and a half hours of jogging, a lot for something you can eat in three bites. It’s worth noting at this point that 66.2% of Iowa’s population are either obese or overweight.
This fanciful creation first made its appearance in the 2009 Texas State Fair (with 66.5% of the population overweight or obese). Since then, it has been seen in other states fairs in Wisconsin and Indiana. Abel Gonzales, the inventor, was granted the “most creative award” in 2009 with this heart-stopping snack. Creative? I suppose the idea of fat, dipped in fat, deep-fried in fat, then glazed with fat, is quite original.
Perhaps it’s simply my snobbish discomfort at eating pure butter. To me, this is the culinary equivalent of smoking advertisement in the 50s, dangerous and questionable. Is this simply a ‘creative’ carnival treat or the utter butchery of food? Some defend it with the justification that it is a ‘once in a year’ indulgence. However, the problem doesn’t lie with the frequency of consuming such a thing. Buttery mille-feuilles, tarts and cakes should be eaten in moderation. Fried butter in batter just shouldn’t be eaten, full stop.