When fried ice cream burst on the scene in the seventies , it created a considerable stir. Though it is said to have been around since the World’s Fair of 1893, it was only when Japanese restaurants in America put it on their menus that it became a hit . The idea itself was amazing. Fried ? Ice cream ? How could something cold be deep-fried and not melt into a puddle. The reason , as later became common knowledge , is that the ice cream was first coated with a tempura batter and flash fried . The resulting combination of cold and hot , soft and crisp , sweet and slightly salty proved irresistible. Pretty soon , fried ice cream became a staple on the menus of even second-rate Japanese and Chinese restaurants . Mexican restaurants , including the Chi Chi’s chain , also got into the act though their version was slightly different : a ball of hard frozen ice cream coated with tortillas / cookie crumbs and nuts and flash fried before being dusted with cinnamon-sugar.
Unfortunately , novelty items soon become commonplace . So it was with fried ice cream . Its popularity soon caused it to be a cliché and the food industry started casting about for new fried dishes. The result has been a slew of increasingly bizarre snacks and desserts.
The first was deep-fried Mars bars which became popular in Scotland , a regular dessert at fish and chips shops in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The item seems to have started as a joke that quickly caught on, though I can’t understand why. Isn’t a plain Mars bar good enough ? Children seem to have been the main consumers . Other deep-fried candy bars include Bounty and, in the U.S , Snickers .
In the U.S , fried foods are very popular at State fairs and some of the offerings are so strange as to be almost unbelievable. At the Texas State fair of 2006 , Abel Gonzales came up with Fried Coke and won a prize for the ” Most creative ” food item . The recipe consists of a Coke flavored batter , balls of which are deep-fried and topped with Coca-Cola syrup, cinnamon sugar , whipped cream and a cherry. The concoction proved very popular ,selling over 35,000 cups( @ $ 4.50 each) in three weeks . It has since made its appearance at 47 different state fairs and there is even a version made with Pepsi. By the way , a single cup is estimated to contain 830 calories but , fear not , a Fried Diet Coke version is reputed to be on the way.
Here are some other deep-fried delicacies that can be had at State fairs around the country:
Chicken Fried Bacon
Deep Fried Jelly Beans
Deep Fried Twinkies ( Indiana)
Fried Avocado Bites (California) : Spears of tender avocado coated in a corn-dog batter and fried until golden and served with a choice of two dipping sauces: ranch or herb-infused oil.
Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack – A Buffalo chicken strip coated in flapjack batter, rolled in jalapeño bread crumbs, deep-fried to a golden brown, skewered, and served with a side of syrup.
Deep Fried Texas Salsa – A spicy medley of jalapeno, roasted garlic, onion, tomato, and pepper rolled together, dipped in masa, covered in crunchy tortilla chips , deep-fried and served with creamy queso.
Fried Autumn Pie – Puff pastry infused with a combination of pumpkin, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and fall spices , deep-fried and rolled in ginger, cinnamon, and sugar.
There are more like this , such as El Bananarito, but I think you get the idea. Something about the atmosphere at a state fair or at a carnival seems to make us let go , forget about calories and health and just indulge .Fried foods such as corn dogs , fried chicken and the like have always been popular and these are just newer manifestations of the craving for fried food.
At least these items have some taste , though it may not be to everyone’s liking. To my mind , however , the worst of the lot is Fried Butter which made its first appearance at the Texas State Fair in 2009. Invented by the Abel Gonzales , the same chap who invented Fried Coke, it won the 2009 award for the most creative fried recipe. It consists of balls of frozen butter, dipped in dough , quickly deep-fried and dusted with a thin coating of powdered sugar. The other fried foods have some taste, but Fried Butter.. .I don’t think so. A spokeswoman for the fair defended fried foods , saying ” If this is not your lifestyle , then it’s OK to indulge once or twice a year.” Maybe , but the problem is that these deep-fried time bombs do become a part of the lifestyle of the less savvy and that is why we have a national problem with obesity and obesity related disorders.