I experienced a “first” last weekend…my “first State Fair”. And not just any State Fair, but the State Fair of Texas. I cannot believe I went to college in Dallas and never took the time to partake in one of the most American of all traditions. According to Wiki, the Texas State Fair is the largest, with over 3,000,000 people in attendance over the two-week long run. Plus, I caught it on the day of the famous Red River Showdown, the celebrated football game between longtime rivals, the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma. We all donned our burnt orange, and off we went.
State fairs gained popularity in the 20th century as a way to showcase and promote agriculture and livestock. Livestock proves still to be a big draw, with pig and ostrich races, and prize-winning pigs, llamas and longhorn cattle. I felt as if I were on a movie set, surrounded by the carnival games, eating salt-water taffy and watching the glorious Ferris wheel. We came for the football and the food, and we got plenty of both. What is it about fairs and fried food? I would argue that it is not a lack of creativity. The abundance of fried fare was astounding: fried ribs, fried mashed potatoes, Las Vegas fried ice cream, fried Nutella, fried okra, double stuffed fried Oreos, fried Thanksgiving dinner, fried beer, fried Frito pie, fried bubble gum, fried jambalaya, chicken fried cactus bites, and, the kids’ favorite, cookie fries, which was the winner at the fair this year for most creative. At the end of a long day, we ended up with 3 kids who were truly completely fried themselves, fried from spending 8 hours in the sun, riding rides, watching football and stuffing themselves silly. Nonetheless, Sunday night, as I was tucking our son into bed, he said to me, “I wish I could live the weekend all over again”.
Upon our return, I made the kids a dish from the fair called a Walking Taco. A twist on the Frito Pie concept where chili is ladled on top of an open bag of Fritos, the Walking Taco is a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos topped with taco meat, cheese, guacamole, lettuce and pico de gallo. The kids were all in agreement that this was a great way to relive the weekend. Buen Provecho! xoM