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Deep-fried state

The few. The proud. The ones who stick to their diets.

The sign on this tractor-pulled shuttle says, “The few. The proud. The ones who stick to their diets.” As you can see, I am not on this train. Instead, I am being lured to the deep-fried Pepsi stand by a wood cut-out of the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

Deep-fried anything.

At the Indiana State Fair they will deep fry anything, from fresh cut broccoli to cookie dough. I bet they would deep fry a rat, and I can’t guarantee you the carnies haven’t done so after hours. The fair only comes around once a year, so even though I knew this was a very bad, no-good, awful idea, I paid way too much money to split some deep-fried Pepsi and deep-fried cookie dough with my friend Jenny.

Deep-fried anything.

The deep-fried Pepsi was very disappointing, since it’s essentially balls of deep-fried Pepsi batter. The deep-fried cookie dough was much more delicious. The guilt of eating this evil concoction was tapered by three things:

1) For the second year in a row the state fair uses no trans-fats!

2) We walked four miles round trip to and from the fair. I’m sure we burned off half a cookie-dough ball right there.

3) There was no deep-fried Diet Pepsi, so I made the healthiest deep-fried soda choice possible.

If you are contemplating going to the Indiana State Fair, know that it is practically impossible to dedicate yourself to any type of healthy eating once you enter these gates. This welcome sign may as well say, “Abandon hope, all ye Weight Watchers who enter here.”

Abandon hope, all ye Weight Watchers who enter here.

Seriously, even the sushi is made out of icing.

Sugary sushi

It was somewhat cruel to walk through the display of cake decorating prize winners because I was surrounded by tons of tasty creations locked behind solid glass. Of course, I only had to walk outside to get some elephant ears, so it wasn’t too horrible. The map they hand you at the front gate has a guide to all the exhibits, but it would be far more helpful if it included a map of all the concession stands.

Of course, I didn’t just eat at the fair. I also rode some rides, saw some fuzzy bunnies, petted some sheep and sanitized my hands a dozen times. And of course, I wouldn’t miss…

Amazing big cheese sculpture.

…the Amazing Big Cheese Sculpture! Yes, a sculpture made entirely out of cheese. The sculpture was sponsored by 3-A-Day. Strangely enough, I dropped my business card off at their table at the BlogHer conference and actually won a prize package from them! I now have a free tote bag, lunch pail and cookbook. For some reason I have a lot of luck with dairy-sponsored contests because I won a gift card from Dannon Yogurt several years ago too.

On the way to the cheese, I stopped by the spinners and weavers exhibition booth and said hi to lovely reader Benita, who spins, weaves, dyes, writes, makes comics and is good at math. I bet she can spin straw into gold too, but is keeping that one to herself.

 Benita and me.

I stopped for a $1 refill at the Dr. Vegetable stand (where they deep fry veggies if you’re trying to be healthy) and laughed at their soda stand. Funny how a sticker peel could change Pepsi into Coke.

Pepsi or Coke?

I also crawled through the giant colon, which is not a “:” but a half-circle replica of an intestine, complete with examples of Crohn’s disease, polyps, diverticulitis, and cancer. Now I know how the deep-fried cookie dough felt.

Then on Sunday morning I weighed myself and on Monday morning I went on Phase 1 of South Beach again, because OH MY GOD humans should not eat that much deep-fried food ever. I would have to walk 4 states, not 4 miles, to justify all that eating. I don’t regret it. I like to take unique food opportunities when they come. San Francisco, New York and the State Fair were all fun, once-in-a-while opportunities that I’m glad I enjoyed. However, it would be nice if they hadn’t all happened within a month of each other.

Hello, broccoli! Good-bye deep-fryer.

View all my State Fair pics in my Flickr Photostream. I paid $25 for a pro account, so I’m going to damn well use it.

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Christina • August 12, 2008 at 8:07 am

What is it with state fairs and dairy sculptures? The New York state fair has a giant butter sculpture every year.


Butterfly • August 12, 2008 at 8:30 am

Wow! Deep fried EVERYTHING! I’ve never heard of deep fried pepsi.. and I thought I’ve fried it all!

Speaking of fried fat, that’s actually something not to out of the ordinary where I’m from. As a leader in the maple syrup industry, Quebec has thousands of sugar shacks. Come spring, the biggest season of gluttony arrives. These “shacks” serve everything covered in maple syrup, and the foods are not of the healthiest variety. They serve mainly bacon, ham, eggs, baked beans, rich pea soups, french fries with gravy and melted cheese (God bless our claim to fame, Poutine). The most popular treat: Oreilles de Cris. Litteral translation: Christ’s ears. This delicious treat is simply deep fried porc fat. They kind of look like porc rinds, but are somehow bigger,oilier, and saltier. After you’ve stuffed yourself on sugar & fat, everyone goes outside to enjoy some taffee. They pour maple syrup over snow, and then each person is given a popsicle stick to twirl the syrup around as it freezes. Maybe our tradition could partner up with the Indiana State fair- an annual pig out fest.


Deb • August 12, 2008 at 9:28 am

Minnesota has multiple butter heads — of each of the dairy princesses. They get to take them home and put them in their freezers. How freaky would it be to see your head in butter in your freezer come January?! Yikes! Seriously, I was/am going to skip the State Fair this year (for all the obstacles to healthy eating outlined above), but they’re offering something new and (possibly) irresistible: dark chocolate-covered BACON. What a combination! The Fair starts August 22; we’ll see if I can resist.


Oliveira • August 12, 2008 at 9:39 am

“There was no deep-fried Diet Pepsi, so I made the healthiest deep-fried soda choice possible.”

ROTFL! Now here’s a phrase that can’t come up too often!


gknee • August 12, 2008 at 10:04 am

Hey PQ-

those pics were the next best thing to being there!(without the stinky animal smells) Don’t bother coming to the WI state fair. Ours looks just the same as yours with pretty much identical food choices too. Happy re-entry into the world of “normal” eating. good luck with that……..


Jill • August 12, 2008 at 10:44 am

You should visit the Wisconsin State Fair. Deep friend Twinkies, Snickers, pickles…you name it, they fry it! It’s sinfully delicious!!


April • August 12, 2008 at 10:46 am

Do you realize that on the first photo in your flickr stream it says “Jennette ate state fair”? It’s a fantastic typo considering…


PastaQueen • August 12, 2008 at 10:48 am

@Jill – My friend Jenny actually started fighting with her boyfriend over who got to finish the deep-fried Twinkie.


susan • August 12, 2008 at 10:59 am

Fried foods aside, that pink t-shirt is adorable. Great color on you.


asithi • August 12, 2008 at 11:01 am

Good thing I do not like deep fried. But I still love going to CA’s state fair because there is a lot of good ethnic food that I would normally not try. Why is the focus of any fair or celebration revolve around food?


Karen • August 12, 2008 at 11:29 am

I’ve been to our State Fair maybe 3 times in my adult life and not much more in my childhood – I hate State Fairs – ‘specially at night. That said, I went last year for lunch – The fairgrounds are about 3 miles from my office. I don’t remember what I got to eat – I think a sausage dog and I tried not to think about the somewhat dirty person who handed it to me at the window – it only cost $8.00. For a sausage dog and water.

I’m not a fair person, obviously – crowds, noise, dirt, people who look like they are freshly escaped from some criminal institution. Oh and it was hot, too – October in SC can be hot especially at the fair grounds in the sun. :)

Now I DID try the fried pepsi and it was very disappointing – I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t that. Fortunately they also had fried snickers and twinkies. The fried snickers bar was better.

Fairs are not for dieters!


nolafwug • August 12, 2008 at 11:30 am

Ooh I’m so jealous. I went to the Barnstable County Fair in MA and decided to wait to try a deep-fried Snickers bar and/or Twinkie until the next day. Then our plans changed and we didn’t go back. I guess I should have Carpe Diem’ed, shoot.


Jaime • August 12, 2008 at 11:32 am

the local country fair near me was over about 2 weeks ago but they would deep fry oreos. i have never tried it though. maybe next year.


Jennifer • August 12, 2008 at 12:02 pm

This is the first year in a while that we haven’t made a stop in IN during our summer vacation across the US. We always hit the fair too and yeah, the deep fried goods are crazy! Your pictures made me kind of homesick for the fair though. :( Have you ever had a milkshake from the dairy barn????


Lydia • August 12, 2008 at 12:38 pm

I think I would go right to the Coco (!!!) the colossal colon first and then consider the deep fried goods…LMAO it sounds like hell…I nearly fell of my chair, thanks for this entertainment..man am I glad I didn’t go. :)


Andrew is getting fit • August 12, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Oh man. I feel ill just thinking about all that deep fried stuff. Then I start to think fond thoughts of the deep fried cookie dough…


Lisa Lisa • August 12, 2008 at 2:59 pm

The fair was great, and I have refused to weigh myself after Saturday. I am eating light, though.

I felt a bit sicky later that day. But I’m glad we got to go. It’s not often you get to eat fried Pepsi, crawl through a giant colon, see racing roaches (eww) and pet sheep. At least not for me.


Kayla • August 12, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Oh goodness, elephant ears and corn dogs. Well, especially corn dogs. You’ve totally made me homesick for the Indiana State Fair, I’m back up in Canada now, but lived in Indy for 6 years, and the state fair was always a blast, deep-fried of course.


Pamela R • August 12, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Oh, geez, now you’ve got me craving elephant ears and deep fried corn on the cob. It’s a good thing I live in a small town now and the state fair is a long way away. Hmmm, the one in Memphis is in the fall, maybe I could go visit mom and dad! LOL


Brooke • August 12, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Phew! Finally done. It’s only taken three weeks of sneaking into your blog but I’ve now read the entire thing. You are awesome. Not like I have a crush on you awesome but like awesome in a you did a good thing and have inspired others to do a good thing kind of way. I may be inspired to try that wretched running thing.


Lisa • August 12, 2008 at 5:20 pm

Seems like it’d be worse to, like, cut off your nose to use on a baked potato.


Loth • August 12, 2008 at 5:21 pm

We don’t have state fairs over here in Scotland but our takeway chip shops happily sell just about anything deep fried. Deep fried Mars bars, Creme Eggs etc and deep fried haggis and pizza has been popular for years. We are also the heart attack capital of Europe – not surprising really!


100 DAYS IN BED • August 12, 2008 at 5:22 pm

DEEP FRIED PEPSI???? I always joke about going to a fair and having deep friend salad but deep fried soda is so much funnier.

What I LOVE about you is you know how to have fun and then get back on the program!

If I did, I probably wouldn’t have this extra ass but I’m owrking on that!


Marla • August 12, 2008 at 5:40 pm

COCO THE COLOSSAL COLON. If I ever go into show business, I’m using that as my stage name.

One time on Paula Dean she showed deep-fried butter balls. Essentially, you scoop some butter with a spoon to make balls, freeze it, roll it in a little flour and S&P, then drop into frying oil.

I’ve been known to enjoy an occasional deep-fried or buttery item, but that just made me sick!


MizFit • August 12, 2008 at 6:07 pm

I so miss the North Carolina state fair!!


Katschi • August 12, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Tell me they didn’t deepfry the colon. God, no! Not the colon!


Mary • August 12, 2008 at 6:25 pm

Ooo, state fairs and healthy eating definitely don’t go together. But they are so fun! I have never heard of deep fried pepsi… I didn’t even think such a thing was possible.


Kyrsten • August 12, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Oh My God. yum. I will never forget the deep-fried Twinkie my husband, friend and I split at a local fair in San Mateo. I do not regret a bite!


Alex • August 12, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Oh. My. Goodness.

Fried cookie dough? That would be like crack to me! I want some!

Down here at the Texas State Fair they’ve fried just about everything from Macaroni and cheese to Mars Bars. But fried cookie dough? That sounds amazing!


v'ron • August 12, 2008 at 8:29 pm

OK, Wisconsin’s State Fair does have the cream puffs. But I thought WE deep=fried everything. Deep Fried Pepsi. Jesus.

We had a guy a few years back that deep fried bugs, but …. deep fried pepsi. I have to say that out loud a few times.

And the journey through the colon. That’s rich.


Suzy • August 12, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Oh PQ, this one got an all out guffaw! ~wiping tear~

I’m in Fort Wayne. I have a deep understanding of fairs. I now avoid them, even if they don’t use transfats. :)


PurpleGirl • August 13, 2008 at 12:54 am

LOL at “the healthiest deep-fried soda choice possible”. :)


tu • August 13, 2008 at 1:34 am

OMG! America you will eat anything – seriously ANYTHING if it’s deep fried. I’m completely grossed out. I thought the deep fried Mars bar was disgusting enough. This post tops that by a mile. Seriously America – it’s time to get some good taste. Seriously!


Trishie • August 13, 2008 at 2:01 am

Hi Pq! You look so cute and tiny in your tee shirt! I totally understand about the fair thing. Michigan has so many cultures here, that you can get deep fried everything! My favorite is the perogi. I love polish food. Its too bad that our state fair is in such a terrible area of

detroit., or else i would go get some deep fried goodness too. Thanks for sharing your food porn with me. It was just like sex. Also, to the lady above me ripping on my country, and my friends on this blog, STFU. SERIOUSLY.


NZ Karen • August 13, 2008 at 4:11 am

You look super cute, but I’m coveting your shirt sooooo much. Where did you get it? Can you buy them online?


PastaQueen • August 13, 2008 at 7:39 am

@NZ Karen – I got it at a Virgin Records going-out-of-business sale in Boston a couple years ago. I don’t know if they’re available on line anywhere, but most things are these days, right? :)


Crabby McSlacker • August 13, 2008 at 10:07 am

State Fair Diet tip:

Visit the Colossal Colon display FIRST. That is so disgusting.


Karen • August 13, 2008 at 12:45 pm

I have the answer! We should all be olympic swimmers :D Michael Phelps consumes 12,000 calories a day and look at him!!!

I would hate to have his Momma’s grocery bill, though!


Erin • August 13, 2008 at 1:51 pm

I do love a good State Fair, and the absolute disregard for what you’re putting inside your body that comes along with it. My favorite fried food experience wasn’t at an actual state fair, but a local town festival where we were graced with four competing fried cheese stands within a one block span. They were standing shoulder to shoulder giving out samples on toothpicks, and I’m pretty sure as I popped the fourth one in my mouth (of course I tried all of them) I heaved the other three back up. More bang for my buck that way I guess.


The Baroness • August 13, 2008 at 7:40 pm

The Texas state fair has to be worse than yours, because we are some of the most horribly overweight people in the nation. We have fried cheesecake. FRIED CHEESECAKE!!!!!! On a STICK! I’ve tried some of this stuff, and it really just disturbs me more than anything else. It’s not even good.


Jenn • August 13, 2008 at 7:45 pm

I am really curious about the deep-fried Pepsi. I thought us Chinese monopolized the weird shit cuisine category but clearly you Indiania-ans (I dunno!?) have been secretly weirding it up.


RHOV • August 15, 2008 at 10:18 pm

I feel compelled to tell you that you have misspelled Crohn’s disease. It’s “Crohn’s,” not “Chron’s.” As a “Chronie,” I beg you to fix the error to help all your loyal blog readers become aware of this little talked about disease!


PastaQueen • August 15, 2008 at 10:45 pm

@RHOV – Noted and changed. It’s funny, because I googled that to check the spelling and it came up with several entries without any Google spelling suggestions, so I assumed it was right.


RHOV • August 16, 2008 at 10:45 am

Unfortunately, that seems to be far too common. thanks for editing!


Allison C. • August 16, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Wikipedia had to tell me what elephant ears were. Turns out I’ve had them before, but they were called beaver tails! Who names these things?


Erika • August 17, 2008 at 11:31 pm

I am a fellow Hoosier and while I passed it up for the friend green tomatoes (bad choice for MANY reaons) there was Subway tent across from the Hooks Historic Pharmacy. I was totally shocked but they had a line so there is hope… although with the tenderloin (bleck!) tent across the way its tempting for a lot of visitors…


John's Weight Loss Blog • August 18, 2008 at 6:17 am

Same problem with the Minnesota State Fair. I’m hoping I can manage to skip it again this year, but the kids sure like going. Did they have any chocolate covered bacon on a stick?


Paige • August 22, 2008 at 7:36 pm

You walked through the giant colon, eh? Now that’s something not many of us can say.


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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.

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