When I was a newspaper reporter, I worked the horseshit beat. I am not making this up. When the managing editor assigned me the beat he said, “Congrats! You get the horseshit beat.” To the non-journalist ears, this might sound like boring news to cover, but this beat was ripe with rural political corruption plus within its boundaries, there was a nuclear power plant, a state and county prison and of course, the redneck people who shot at neighbors just because someone stepped over their property line.
While Monday through Thursday immersed me in newsy news, Fridays were fun assignment days on this beat especially in the summer and fall because on Fridays, I got to do feature stories on county, state and local fairs and festivals which meant the paper paid me to eat really good food. On a typical Friday, I could down a sausage and pepper sandwich at the local church festival then ride out to the county fairs and have Amish Friendship Bread or blue ribbon apple pie.
Okay, why am I going down memory lane? To be honest, I feel a bit deprived. When I reported on my last fair and festival, the most exotic food that was available was a corn dog. But now there is so much more for taste buds to sample. I was talking to a friend who had attended a state fair recently, and she tried the newest fair food fad: fried butter on a stick.
When I heard the term “fried butter”, my gag reflex went into overdrive. Butter is just one of those foods, that when consumed in large quantities, doesn’t sit well in a stomach or in major arteries for that matter. However, my friend swore that fried butter was worth the clogged cardiac risk. Those who make it at the fairs, take a real stick of butter and dip it in a cinnamon batter and fry it for few minutes. The butter melts into the batter and then a glaze is poured over the whole thing, and as my friend insisted, “It is almost better than sex.” I was impressed. For the record, coming from her, that is high praise indeed.
When I asked for more descriptive details from her (about the butter not the sex), she said fried butter was like the best cinnamon bun one could ever eat, and that it had literally lifted her spirits and gave her a spark of energy she had not known in a long time. To me, this endorsement means that fried butter should win some type of “best food” award because not even three years of Prozac could do that for her.
So, fried butter is the new super food? I am sure the American Medical Association might disagree with this description. The calorie and fat components of this treat make this indulgence a quadruple bypass waiting to happen, but as long as it’s bad for us, its popularity will remain strong. I expect that grocery stores will soon carry frozen food versions of this county fair delight. It will be located right next to the frozen Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine meals because one fried butter stick requires three weeks of the diet entrees just to break even.
Now that Fried Butter has become a staple at fairs, I have to wonder about its origins. Who invented it? What possessed someone to look at a stick of butter and say, “Hm. Would this taste good fried?” Who looks at butter as the focal point of the meal instead of an accessory? Well, I think I might try the fried butter just to see what the fuss is about.
Will I be like my friend and find it’s better than sex? I doubt it, but if it does turn out to be a mood elevator, I think fried butter has a bright future in this world. It might be a food that makes everyone feel better about themselves and the rest of humanity. Maybe we can serve it at the UN or to Congress or to the people in line at the DMV. I might keep a few sticks in my freezer for those days when I need a lift to get me through the day. Move over, Pepperidge Farm Milanos; watch out Betty Crocker Frosting; see you later Girl Scout Thin Mints – yes, there is a new feel-good food in town, and it promises to keep us smiling – that is, until it kills us.