Roaming through the San Diego fair this past week and marveling at all of the crispy fried food offerings gave me pause for reflection. Can the American psyche really be summed up by this phrase which originally comes from the 19th century meditative work by a French hedonist called Anthelme Brillat-Savarin: Physiology of Taste, or Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy (Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, 1826): “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are” [“Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.”] ? This phrase gave me ‘food’ for thought (ok…sorry for the pun) as my yearly ritual to the San Diego Fair thrust me into the heart of American mass culture with its arts and crafts exhibits (woodwork, quilting, knitting, weaving, etc.), home arts contests (everything from cheesecake to table settings to Olive Oil…here’s my cousin Karen standing in front of a sign touting the virtues of California Olive Oil: ), collections of every sort (from old coins to old milk bottles), 4 H club events (rural youth clubs which foster the way of life on ranches and farms), commercial booths selling everything from mops to mixers to wine decanters, carnival rides, and of course deep fried foods of every shape and kind. Why do Americans have a love affair with fried foods? Because they can be eaten with your fingers, they allow you to be a kid again (and everyone knows how much kids love anything which goes ‘crunch’ in the mouth), and not worry about (at least not too much) public decorum–happy and crazy food which puts people in the party mood. And of course being simple to eat and fast to eat, people tend to eat more of anything which is deep fried such as: french fries, corn dogs, fried shrimp, oysters, green tomatoes, onion rings, chicken, not to mention fried cookies and fried bacon!
Definitely not diet food…(no wonder there is so much obesity in this country…but we won’t let that get us down or discourage us from having a good time….). But for a little while during the course of the fair, you can forget about your problems, be young again and let yourself indulge in a few crispy food sensations AND not take yourself too seriously…Watch this video to see what I mean: I must admit though…I did a lot more looking than eating…fortunately for my waistline. Hey…anybody for some fast food? Click on this PDF File to view a recipe for Corn Dogs…or Hot Dogs On A Stick…probably the most popular fried fair fare (that’s a tongue twister!) : Corn Dog Recipe