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Put the Fried Twinkie Down, and No One Gets Hurt

I'm unilaterally banning fried festival food!

“What the heck is he eating?” my wife quizzically questioned me as we waded through of his various Swedish Days endeavors.

“I don’t know,” I replied while squinting really hard at the picture and fearing the worst. “It looks like some sort of something on a stick, and that’s never a good sign!”

I suppose I could’ve read the adjoining text to find out what it was, but, at 53, I’ve come to learn that some things in life are better left a mystery. Does anyone really want to know how Newt Gingrich actually conned three women into marrying him?

But as Rick and I discussed other topics later that week, despite the fact that I clearly knew better, curiosity got the better of me, and I asked, “Rick! What the heck was that thing on a stick you were eating in your ?”

Even I was not prepared for the answer, “A fried Twinkie,” he exclaimed!

As you well know and frequently lament, there are very few things on this planet that can render me utterly speechless, but the mere existence of a contrivance called a "fried Twinkie" did just that.

So let me get this straight. You take an artificial food with absolutely no nutritional value, a “food” with 37 separate ingredients that include sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, shortening and beef fat just in the top 10, dip it in hot oil and then top it off with an unhealthy sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar?

My arteries just got harder from simply writing that paragraph.

Now, if anyone on this planet should be given dispensation for consuming something this contemptible, it’s Rick, who’s thin as a rail. But a fried Twinkie? Like it was when physicists discovered black holes, it took me days to mentally recover from the notion something that heinous actually existed.

But as I searched the Net for the caloric content of a friend Twinkie (420), I discovered it wasn’t nearly the only festival food whose mere mention could curl your toenails and that our ridiculous repast was actually at the bottom of the fattening list!

Fried Snickers, a state fair staple, comes is at 444 calories. A Twinkie dog sundae (I don’t wanna know) comes in at 500, it’s 600 for fried macaroni and cheese, and a slice of fried cheesecake contains 655 calories.

How about fried Pepsi? I ain’t makin’ it up. You take batter mixed up with the ubiquitous soft drink, deep fry it, and then top it with cola syrup and sugar. That particular delicacy is good for a quick 830 calories.

But the king of fattening fried festival foods has to be something they served at the 2011 Iowa State Fair. I know it sounds redundant, but how about this one; deep fried butter?

You take a stick of butter, put it on a stick, dip it in a cinnamon honey batter, toss it in the deep fryer, and coat it with a sugary glaze. For just $4, you can have a heart attack on the spot. It might even be more fun than the rides.

Believe it or not, cotton candy or spun sugar, the sight of which makes my teeth immediately retreat into my gums, is the healthiest of the lot, coming in at only 170 calories.

The thing is, if you ate just one of these abominations, like Rick did, you’d probably be OK. But most fair-going folks love to graze their way through the entire proceeding and, before they know it, it adds up to thousand of calories and a totally terrified bathroom scale.

Last year’s Minnesota State Fair boasted 54 separate varieties of non-traditionally deep fried foods. We may not be No. 1 in math or science, but is there any doubt as to why we’re the fattest nation on the face of the Earth?

And this is only the onset. Since Swedish Days marks the formal start of the summer festival season, I thought I’d pass along these Web MD fair food suggestions:

 

1. Don’t arrive hungry. Do I really need to explain this one?

2. Go early in the morning when you’re less likely to be enticed by fried foods.

3. Drink plenty of water.

4. Ask for an extra plate and share your fried Twinkie.

 

Or how about this one? Exercise some self-control and avoid festival food completely.

So while I’m gonna make an exception for Rick, I’m going to go Michelle Obama on the rest of your ample butts and forbid any of you from ever eating a fried Twinkie or anything else at a summer festival.

You’re welcome!

Colin C. June 27, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Jeff, You can complain, warn, temporize, and threaten all you want but nobody gets between me and my annual Roast Turkey Leg on Tuesday night each year. Of course I don't have to eat for a week afterward but heck, I'm gonna die anyway. I just as well go out happy!
G.Ryan June 27, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Wow, Rick that is some "deadly dough" you have contained in your hands. It's a food item that keeps the cardiologist's in business. It should be labeled"Eat at your own risk." Once on your lips forever on your hips!!! Wonder if the Sweds really eat this in their country?. And does the Festival have or promote any healthy or nutritional cuisine?
Jeff Ward June 27, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Colin, But you're talking a one time thing. Also on the Web MD site was the story of a woman who took her kids to a major amusement park for 5 straight days. Despite walking miles every day, she gained 5 pounds from the food! Moderation - something Americans know nothing about! Jeff
Mike Simon June 27, 2012 at 11:47 PM
G. Ryan: The Fox Valley Jewish Neighbors food booth, across from the Courthouse, promotes "healthy treats." They served veggie burgers, frozen all-fruit bars, chocolate covered frozen bananas, Tofutti Cuties "ice cream" sandwiches, and frozen pickle pops. They also had kosher hot dogs, but the veggies burgers outsold the hot dogs this year 3 to 1. Rick, next year stop on over after your fried Twinkie. A pickle pop is the perfect chaser.
G.Ryan June 28, 2012 at 03:42 AM
WOW, Mr. Simon thanks...your menu sounds delicious, appealing and tempting...I am glad to hear you did well at the Fest. I will definitely stop by next year and check it out. And it is great to see fest goers eating well. Thanks for having your booth filled with these nutritional delights! Take care and healthy eating!

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