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Fit to be fried

As a Hoosier, I am proud to tell you all that the Indiana State Fair has banned the use of trans-fats in its concession stand food. That’s right, you can now crunch on a platter of deep-fried Oreos, Snickers bars and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups without worrying about extra hydrogen atoms in your unsaturated fats. Yippee?

I have never attended the state fair because I get headaches when I get dehydrated, so walking around a huge parking lot during a heat wave seems like a prescription for a migraine. However, I have been tempted to go simply because I am equal parts horrified and fascinated by the idea of deep-fried Pepsi. I think it’s awesome that you can deep-fry a beverage, even if it’s also proof of an unholy pact between culinary scientists and Satan.

I love the idea of cooking with sodas. I even tried a recipe for a Dr. Pepper Baked Apple once, which disappointingly tasted just like a normal baked apple. I am an unrepentant soft drink addict even though they helped make me fat and gave me umpteen cavities. I’m surprised that all the amalgamated metal in my teeth doesn’t set off the metal detector at the airport. If I started flying on a regular basis I might get accused of trying to hide a pocket knife in my molars. My dental hygienist was able to guess that I drank a lot Mountain Dew in my college years simply by the specific wear pattern on my teeth. I was somewhat freaked out by her ability to deduce this, though the accuracy of her guess makes me wonder if there are untapped arenas in the fortunetelling business for reading people’s bicuspids instead of their palms.

I eventually switched to diet drinks, but I still drink far more sodas in a day than could be considered “healthy” or “good-for-me.” I don’t care. I love soda, just like I love biting my fingernails. There’s nothing like chewing on a nice long thumbnail or sucking down a Diet Big K cola for breakfast. I have no plans on giving up either, though it leaves me vulnerable to the occasional hangnail and the remote possibility that I will die of aspartame induced cancer. Everybody’s got to die of something.

Fried Pepsi is made by dipping a Pepsi-based dough in a Pepsi-based batter and deep-frying it for 90 seconds. I think they must come up with these foods simply so you can tell people stories about this crazy thing you ate one time. It’s like how they invented Spring Break so college students have stories of wet t-shirt contests and threesomes to tell the nurses when they’re 80 years old and sitting in a corner of a retirement home. In elementary school you could dare kids to eat bugs on the playground, but now you can dare your friends to eat Fried Snickers bars at the state fair.

There is also a strange delight in doing something that is so obviously bad for you, yet will probably make you feel really good. We have to mediate so many of our urges and desires simply to live in peace with one another. Sometimes I’d like to maul the person who tries merging their SUV into the orbit of my Saturn on the highway, but I don’t because there would be consequences and lawsuits. While I generally enjoy eating healthy and exercising, it’s not so much because I enjoy feeling like someone has poured gasoline on my lungs and lit a match, it’s because I enjoy the results of these efforts. I’m always looking out for Future Me, and I hope that bitch is grateful for it. There’s a fundamental pleasure in letting loose for one small moment, dropping any pretenses and unapologetically indulging in something that obviously has no positive long-term side effects, something that is simply good for my present self and nothing more. I do a lot for Future Me, she can take a hit for Present Me every now and then.

I don’t think I could ever work at a Fried Pepsi concession though, due to moral objections. I would feel like I was killing America. It would be like working for the tobacco industry without the air-conditioned boardrooms. It would also be hot and sweaty and I’d have to interact with the hot and irritable public. I just couldn’t do it, even if they have taken the trans-fats out.

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K • August 24, 2007 at 9:39 am

Sign that a person spends too much time reading fitness blogs: I immediately wondered what poor Jeni had done to you to be called a bitch…

I come from the land where they invented the deep-fried Mars bar (like an American Milky Way). Accounts differ as to whether the place of origination was Glasgow, Airdrie, or Edinburgh, but that’s kind of academic. I have never eaten one, and don’t want to… the taint of fish from the deep fryer would put me off if nothing else would.

Heh! I hadn’t thought of that Future Me reference confusion, but I should have. – PQ


Flora • August 24, 2007 at 9:49 am

See, I always used to think fried Pepsi was a battered and deep-fried ice cube of soda syrup, sort of like the fried ice cream in Mexican restaurants. Now THAT I’d pay money to try, at least once.


sarah • August 24, 2007 at 9:49 am

GO! EAT! But bring friends to share with. One bite of a deep fried Twinkie, Snickers Bar, Moon Pie, etc, is enough. Plus, you’ll want roasted corn & fresh-cut fries and homemade ice cream… there’s no way that your wallet or diet can afford all the temptations that the fair offers, which are all totally worth it.


AKS • August 24, 2007 at 9:57 am

They fry it for 90 minutes?!

Oopsies! Thanks for being my editor. It’s 90 seconds and I fixed it – PQ


Erin • August 24, 2007 at 10:00 am

Deep fried pepsi is wrong on so many levels. That doesn’t even sound good. I might be tempted to try a deep fried twinkie, or snickers, but I’d feel really guilty about it afterwards.


Diana • August 24, 2007 at 10:15 am

I’m just amazed at the uses they find for a vat of boiling grease. It kinda makes me nostalgic for french fries and corn dogs but they are so passe now aren’t they ;-)


Laura • August 24, 2007 at 11:11 am

Too funny. We have the Fall Festival down in Evansville (fellow Hoosier here!) and there’s always something new being fried up. Twinkies were a big deal the first year–I tried it, liked the sandwich part but the warm filling was gross. Deep fried Snickers was too overwhelming to even take a second bite.

The most popular item at the Fall Fest is the Brain Sandwich. I kid you not. Pig brains, somehow worked out into a sandwich patty the size of a 9″ paper plate, deep fried and put on a bun. When Alton Brown came through Evansville on his USA tour (SIGH! I wish I’d known he was here, I’d have mauled him) he stopped by our Hilltop Tavern and had a brain sandwich. He’s a brave man–brave, crazy, and totally adorable.


Mary Jean • August 24, 2007 at 11:11 am

OK, I have to say that my DH and I run the Outside Food booth at our church festival. We serve cheesesteaks, hot sausage and peppers, and anything we can fry including peirogis. We use canola oil, but the food, if eaten excessively is still bad for you. However, as Sarag commented, you bring a friend to share with. I have seen five teenage girls eating one cheesesteak. And, in a funny way, it kinda makes me think they know what’s going on. They come to the festival, get the great tasting fried food but only eat a little. Wish I had thought of that before I began my own weight battle…

BTW, people who fry at these kinds of things should always keep a separate fryer reserved for fish.


shelly • August 24, 2007 at 11:43 am

NEVER attended the Indiana State Fair! People come from other states to go to our fair! I don’t know why this shocks me so…but maybe it’s because the only time I missed it was when I lived out of state. Well, good for you and not going and eating everything in site (that really is the ONLY reason to go…oh and that 4H thing.)


Jenny • August 24, 2007 at 12:05 pm

“I’m always looking out for Future Me, and I hope that bitch is grateful for it.”

Bwahaha – how did you know that’s what I tell myself everyday!!!!


Mia • August 24, 2007 at 12:14 pm

OK–if the thought of fried Pepsi didn’t make me want to vomit, this did: “There’s nothing like chewing on a nice long thumbnail or sucking down a Diet Big K cola for breakfast.”

Isn’t this what they call negative association? Ewww. Would you please write a similar post about chewing finger nails and croissants or some other French pastry? :))


Ignominious Bob • August 24, 2007 at 12:17 pm

just like I love biting my fingernails.

I grew up in the midwest, and took fingernail biting for granted (though I found it ooky and no one in my own family did it). I moved elsewhere, and didn’t really notice the absence of the habit, until I went back home to visit and noticed the prevalence when milling about in public. I wonder why it’s such a thing there; hardness or softness of nails should not be geographic, should it?


NicoleW • August 24, 2007 at 1:23 pm

Deep-fried Pepsi? I think my brain just broke. Ugh.

I haven’t been to a state fair since I was in college; between the heat at this time of year and the fact that rides I used to love tend to make me want to hurl nowadays, they’ve lost their appeal. But if you go, enjoy it. Even the deep-fried Pepsi. *shudder*


kar_kar • August 24, 2007 at 2:29 pm

Having trans-fat free oil sounds like a good idea…but depending on what type of oil it is, it will just create trans-fats/free radicals when it’s heated to frying temperature, so the ban has the potential to be pretty misleading. Just sayin. Not that it would stop me from eating corn dogs and funnel cakes anyway!


Susan • August 24, 2007 at 3:53 pm

“I’m always looking out for Future Me, and I hope that bitch is grateful for it.”

Love love love this. This should be the quotation on the back of your book.

(Long time reader, first time commenter. Hello from Maryland!)


Heather • August 24, 2007 at 4:13 pm

God your blog is hysterical. Keep up the great work!


KrisR • August 24, 2007 at 4:37 pm

yes, I too love the ‘future me’ quote and plan to print it out and adapt it as my motto (credit given to you, of course)!

You make me snort and if I would have been drinking Pepsi Max, it would have been all over my laptop!

Thanks for the ongoing incentive PQ.


Marla • August 24, 2007 at 6:33 pm

I’m not a big soda fan, but I can tell you that the best BBQ sauce in the world has coca-cola as an ingredient. Everything has its place in the universe…

also: you look BEAUTIFUL in the wedding pictures. That’s a lovely dress.


Megan • August 24, 2007 at 7:12 pm

I had fried Coke last year at the Texas State Fair. The excitement surrounding it was palatable. The fried Coke however, was not. ick.


Amanda • August 24, 2007 at 8:16 pm

I was never gutsy enough to try the fried Pepsi, but I did try a snickers and it nearly sent me into a coma. However, that and all the other goodies I had at the state fair were totally worth the small gain. I love pigging out a bit at the fair because it is gone the next week. Even if I’m left craving more, I have to wait until next year. I kind of wish that oreos and chili dogs were only available once a year.


BrightAngel • August 24, 2007 at 8:26 pm

I like you more and more each day.


hayley • August 24, 2007 at 8:59 pm

you know that deep fried chocolate (mars bars especially) are a scottish ‘delicacy’. I joke not. you can get them served on the side of chips, all fried in beef fat(fries, sisters over the pond). the pinnacle of all this is deep fried pizza (cheap pizza dipped in batter, and fried). you see America doesn’t have a monopoly on the saturated fats….



bazu • August 24, 2007 at 11:44 pm

I agree with you about not going to a state fair- it sucks that ours is only a few miles from my house- ack! At least Indiana banned trans-fats- no such luck for New York… yet.


sandy • August 25, 2007 at 8:09 pm

i hear the indiana state fair has trans fat-free FUNNEL CAKES. mmmmmmm. funnel cakes. i ran some focus groups in milwaukee during the 2004 wisconsin state fair – all of the respondents insisted i check it out. i witnessed people feeding cream puffs bigger than my head to toddlers – with pride! blech!


Rosalie • August 25, 2007 at 11:27 pm

I’ve had the deep fried Mars bar – after seeing Nigella Lawson, the insanely beautiful British tv chef have one, I had to try it. I was physically unable to walk the 5 blocks home from the crazy British restaurant in Brooklyn where I got it (Chip Shop). Definitely a memorable experience, though not one I intend to repeat.

I’ve been reading your blog for ages now but I think this is the first time I’ve commented. You never fail to entertain – truly, one of my favorite blogs to read.


JEM • August 26, 2007 at 3:51 pm

Ahhhhh, America…we love to take something bad for us and make it worse! Can you pass the fried twinkie?


Anna • August 27, 2007 at 1:22 am

Okay, if you like soda recipes, heres one. Get a box of Duncan Hines brownies or betty crocker, or whatever looks good. Don’t use any oil, or butter or eggs or anything, just a single can of diet coke. Then bake it according to directions. Flat, but yummy and less calories and fat and stuff than it normally would be…. It’s an old weight watchers recipe.


Lori • August 28, 2007 at 10:49 am

“I’m always looking out for Future Me, and I hope that bitch is grateful for it.”

That is a tshirt.


America • August 28, 2007 at 11:33 am

In Richmond, IN, there was a restaurant we visited often that had a frie brownie sundae on the menu–a battered and deep fried brownie dolloped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and smothered in hot fudge and whipped cream. The place shut down a few weeks ago…and I am grateful I never have to face that brownie again!!


Sarah • August 29, 2007 at 3:06 pm

i tried deep fried coke at the state fair of texas. it was weird.


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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