Dan Ruth: Autopsy On A Stick? Six Feet Under Souffle? Welcome to the state fair!

Published January 24

Well it’s that time of year again, the arrival of the Florida State Fair, or as it might otherwise be known — the yearly gastronomical death march.

As always, the fair, which runs from Feb. 8-19, will feature the usual assortment of thrill rides, carny barkers, concerts and livestock exhibitions. And if you love the smell of indigestion in the morning, this is the place for you. Way, way big fun.

If the Florida State Fair is known for anything it is the informal annual tradition to see who can come up with the most potentially fatal menu that will attract hungry customers anxious to clog their arteries.

It fell to the Tampa Bay Times’ Sharon Kennedy Wynne to review this year’s latest myocardial infarction inducing taste treats to be found at the fair. And yes, there will be bacon.

You don’t need to be a heart surgeon to figure out when something is called a "syrup-based pie," that no good is likely to come of this. Wynne also detailed an offering called a Frenkel Funnel Cake that includes bananas, spices, funnel cake and your choice of either chocolate or caramel drizzle. Yummers.

If your last will and testament is in order, you can sample the Southern Catfish Sundae, which features french fries, fried catfish and a spicy remoulade sauce. The Chicken and Waffles Pizza consists of fried chicken, waffles, bacon (always bacon), mozzarella cheese and the aforementioned syrup. And of course, many of the people ordering this stuff will also have a diet Coke in the spirit of healthy living.

For many years the Florida State Fair has promoted all manner of cheeseburgers — deep fried, deep deep fried and deep deep deep fried. Isn’t variety the spice of life?

Burgers come with multiple cheeses, sauces, buns and condiments. There’s probably a slice (or two) of bacon in there, too.

Yes, that howl you just heard was the sound of cardiologists screaming into the night.

A bit of advice to Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, whose agency oversees the fair. Do you think it might be a good idea to require all food vendors to also have a defibrillator next to each concession stand and/or a treadmill? Just a thought. After all, you do want to keep as many of these fair-goers alive so they can vote for you for governor.

To be sure, if you are planning to fall off the diet wagon, the Florida State Fair offers more temptations than an alcoholic finding himself locked inside a bourbon distillery.

But really now, shouldn’t there be just a bit of truth-in-advertising for some of these foodstuffs? Let us not forget Putnam is also in charge of the state’s consumer services department, too.

We can be reliably confident you’ll probably not find a vendor selling kale du jour with a side of tofu and sprouts.

But patrons should also made aware of what they about to ingest is not exactly going to be found in the American Heart Association recipe book.

So shouldn’t the food purveyors at the fair also be obliged to be more transparent about what they are selling to the public?

Why shouldn’t that corn dog dripping with a bacon reduction and embellished with lard not be called Autopsy On A Stick? It ought not to adversely impact sales very much. Who doesn’t love some adventure in their lives?

Last Rites Surprise — a finger-licking repast of slow-roasted fat, wrapped with more fat and served with a topping of fat. Butter optional. Best served with a chilled Mountain Dew and a milkshake.

And who could resist a plate of Six Feet Under Souffle, a mouth-watering delicacy of fried whipped cream atop raw cookie dough, lovingly arranged on a pile of ribs and finished off with a drizzle of two cups of raw sugar?

Bon appetit! Burp!

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