Friday, October 16, 2009

Un-Fair Food

I was outside earlier today during lunch. The sun was out, and the air was cold and crisp. Yep, it's craft fair weekend here in Northwest Arkansas, and from War Eagle to Bella Vista, huge white tents have been popping up in pastures for days. The other morning on my way to work I passed by one such site. It was misting and still dark, and as I got closer I could see the lights of the concession stands, already powered up and ready. The soft flicker of golden light reflecting off the peaks of the nearby tents in the dark field made it seem almost sinister. But there's nothing sinister about the craft fair. Except the food. Corn dogs, funnel cakes, kettle corn, and a host of meats on a stick. The smell of it hangs in the air and rides on the breeze, tempting you as you browse through booths filled with quilts, wooden crafts, and birdhouses constructed from license plates. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with fair food. I love it, but I can't devour it like I used to. I love kettle corn; popped in a steaming cauldron the size of a Buick, the sweet and salty mix is one of my weaknesses. And corn dogs. I may need a moment. No store-bought or fast-food corn dog will ever compare to a corn dog from the fair. Ever. Even the mustard is better. A properly prepared corn dog with just the right application of mustard will make me weep openly, causing passers-by to stare, their children pointing and asking, "Mommy, why is the fat man sad?" Oh, and funnel cakes, made irresistable with a liberal dusting of powdered sugar, are another favorite. You can easily spot someone who's just had a funnel cake: eyes crossed and mouth slightly ajar, powdered sugar on their face, hands, and clothes, a wad of napkins the size of a grapefruit, and a single paper plate, gray blotches of oily residue peeking through crumbs and clumps of white powder. Whoever said ignorance is bliss has obviously never had a funnel cake. Or any fair food, for that matter. But fair food has a dark side; namely the calories. And fat. And carbs and sodium and...ok, there is no redeeming nutritional quality in fair food. Out of curiosity I Googled "fair food nutrition." I found a chart showing the calories, fat, and carbs found in popular fair foods. I've included the link below, so I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that, with the possible exception of meth or heroin, you'd be hard pressed to find anything worse for you. So as I head out to craft fair this weekend, I will do so already having eaten. Because fair food? Is not the least bit fair.