Monday, June 13, 2011

Roll up, roll up...

...stuff your face with fried food, and then roll on home again.

My big discovery this weekend is that fun fairs are the same in New England as they are in actual England.

TLOML and I went on a road trip to visit America's finest family in clean, green Connecticut. America's finest family are preternaturally smart, charming and attractive. Even the dog (a Portugese water dog, naturally) has a winning attitude and all-American good looks. America's finest family live in one of those perfect New England towns, with pretty white clapboard houses set behind birch trees on lush lawns. Picket fences abound. Everybody knows everybody, people choose organic, do their recycling and no old lady is ever left wanting for someone to help her cross the street.

Nothing noisy, dirty or remotely low rent ever happens here.
 Till the fun fair comes to town...

Then those well-behaved children want only to be strapped into a swirling, spinning machine with loud music and blaring lights screaming their lungs out. Muttering 'it's all so sticky', their elegant, fragrant mother goes on the Sizzler ride and loves it. And their dad, a man of sophisticated palate, hankers for some fried dough.

That's right, fried dough. According to the stand, 'authentic, Italian style fried dough.' They deep fry it in sheets about the size of a copy of Martha Stewart Living, and then in case the heart attack still feels out of reach, you can cover it in a mountain of refined sugar.
Funnel cakes are also available. They're a lot like fried dough except it's batter instead of dough that's being cooked in a vat of hot oil. The same applies with the sugar topping though.

I don't mean to sound sniffy. After all, being British I don't have a leg to stand on. Any decent fair in the UK would also offer fried dough in the shape of doughnuts, candy floss (aka cotton candy, aka pure ultra refined sugar) in a bag bigger than your head, and caramel apples. Plus a frightening range of indeterminate meats - grey burgers and hot dogs with a mountain of fried onions.

In fact I think this is one of the many things America does better. Cheap, calorie laden fatty food of limited nutritional value, that is.

It's not just the 'if you're going to be a bear, be a grizzly' attitude embodied by the fried dough stand. It's the cheap meat selection: I saw people with plates of ribs and fried chicken that actually made my mouth water. That's never happened when I pass the hot dog stand at the Hampstead Heath fair. Or maybe I've just been here too long, and seen one too many episode of Diners, drive-ins and dives...

Despite the call of my saliva glands, I resisted the cardiac arrest stands. We headed back to the city with talk of an healthy dinner. Then, oops!, we ended up at our new favourite local, the Tipsy Parson, where we tucked into homemade peanut butter with cheese crackers. Basically posh carnival food.

The road to obesity, like the one to hell, is paved with good intentions.

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