Why must Texas continually fry up everything in some gross salute to obesity at the Fair? T.M.
It seems like every year around this time (when the State Fair of Texas announces the newest concoctions), transplants from Chicago ask this question. There are also the almost comically boilerplate articles in HuffPo, or in other places about the ridiculous things us Texans are doing with food. How we’re just hillbilly idiots frying up whatever we can get our hands on, thereby contributing to the obesity problem in America in our own trailer trash way.
Well I’m here to defend my state and its deep fried inventions, and to also throw a little mud in the eyes of all you other states who think you’re better than us.
To begin, you have to understand that although we did deep fry butter, we didn’t make it our state food. The State Fair of Texas (the Fair to locals) runs for three-four weeks once every fall and then it’s over. If you really liked eating the deep fried smores at the Fair in September and you’re looking for it in late December, you’re S-out of luck.
You have to wait nine months to have one again because they’re only available during the Fairs’ run. The Fair grew out the agrarian society of harvest festivals and fairs. Times when communities would come together to celebrate the harvest, when communities would throw feasts full of foods that weren’t normally available or were too extravagant for normal consumption. They were festivals filled with food that, as Cookie Monster recently found out about cookies, aren’t everyday foods. Little at the State Fair of Texas, including the most famous “Fletcher’s Corny Dog”, is available for sale everyday.
But you know what is an everyday food…the Big Mac. As I pointed out to my transplanted friend from Illinois, McDonalds and Big Macs are an Illinois product. They are perhaps more unhealthy than fried butter because, if nothing else, you can eat one every day from today until the day you keel over several months from now as a result of eating Big Macs every day.
Furthermore Illinois, specifically Chicago; you’re responsible for the Deep Dish Pizza. Something so unhealthy that it shouldn’t even be considered a sometimes food. I could literally go out and eat half a dozen corny dogs, and then eat two more corny dogs, and then eat another half one before I stopped after realizing I ate a box of corny dogs. And I would still have eaten less fat than there is in one personal deep dish pizza from Chicago’s famous Uno’s Pizza. That’s right; a box of corny dogs has less fat than one personal pan deep dish pizza. That I might add, is available in your grocer’s freezer every day of the year including Christmas. I’m disappointed in you Illinois.
I’m disappointed in you too Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, pretty much the entire American South, plus Missouri, West Virginia, Alaska, Oklahoma, and Michigan. You’re all fatter than Texas. I know we as a state have our own love handles (I’m looking at you San Antonio) but as a state you are all fatter, so please fling mud in someone else direction.
And how about you California. You wonderful bastion of moderate consumption, vegan eating and generally healthy food trends. You know, trends like the time the culinary leaders of your state decided that the breakfast taco wasn’t healthy enough, so you replaced the tortilla with an Eggo waffle and syrup. Illinois may well be the birth place and home of McDonalds, but Mickey D’s has never done something as stupid as the Waffle Taco from California based Taco Bell.
Even our culinary artist at the State Fair looked at that and said “um, yea, no.” And California, before you go Googling chain restaurants in Texas, rest assured that no matter what you come up with for us, you have Taco Bell, Jack In the Box, In and Out, and of course Red Robin. Red Robin makes the Monster Meal that includes over 3,300 calories, that’s one and half times the Personal Deep Dish Pizza. And yes California, I know Red Robin wasn’t founded in your state, but it’s been there for 2/3 of life, so I’m blaming you for two thirds of the calories. The other third lies squarely at the feet of Washington State, which I’m blaming for the other 1/3, roughly 1,100 calories, or two and a half corny dogs.
Let’s quickly knock off a few other states, like Minnesota, because, Spam. Come on guys.
Also, any Rocky Mountain state. Look, we here at the State Fair have fried butter, beer, smores, deep fried bacon, snickers, and any number of things. You know one thing that we haven’t fried, bull testicles. Or as you call them Rocky Mountain Oysters. Even if we did, we wouldn’t have decided to name them after one of our state’s most prominent features. California’s bad, but at least they didn’t go, “here have these mountain lion testicles, they’re called San Fernando Valley goose eggs.”
To recap, the American South, the Rocky Mountain States, Illinois, Minnesota, West Virginia, California, who’s left? Ah New York. Let’s examine Swanson’s, particularly Swanson’s TV Dinners. If the leading culinary cause of American obesity is fast food restaurants, then coming in at number 2 might be TV dinners. Swanson’s headquartered in your state created TV Dinners and continues to be the largest producer of these waist line killing meals.
Swanson’s makes the completely unhealthy Hungry Man TV Dinners. But they also the fake “I’m Healthy”, but really “I’m not healthy, particularly from an emotional and social point of view” Lean Cuisine TV dinners.
These frozen TV Dinners are available for every meal of the year. As Jim Gaffigan would say, you can have a Hungry Man Dinner for breakfast, a Lean Cuisine for lunch and be dead by dinner.
I’m running out of space, so let’s see, Arizona, three words, Heart Attack Grill. You know how I know my state is healthy than yours? This horrible restaurant was founded in your state, and when you tried to open one up in Dallas, it lasted three months.
Vermont or New England – um…Ben & Jerry’s. We fried chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallow and served for three weeks. You fried chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker, stuck it in ice cream, and shipped it worldwide to millions lonely housewives.
Ohio – you have Wendy’s and the Baconator. Which sounds like a super villain who’s bent on world domination by clogging the worlds’ collective arteries. Also you’re home to the only President to get stuck in a bathtub because of his weight.
Pennsylvania, okay, I don’t have time to figure out if the Philly Cheesesteak is healthier than a corny dog, so let’s call it a draw.
Wisconsin, your state is way too in love with cheese to be considered healthy.
In the end, the point of this essay is to point out, that yes, for several weeks in September people in Texas at the State Fair concoct dishes that are frequently unhealthy. But before you go writing your articles or issuing grand statements about the stupidity of it, ask yourself, is my state responsible for the Waffle Taco, or the Baconator? Do we love cheese a little too much? Is my state taking it a little too far with a official state dessert that’s a ten layer cake? Should I make fun of a state when 50% of the people in my state are obese?
No, No you shouldn’t.
Editor’s Note: If this article failed to mention your state just Google “unhealthy food” and your state’s name.