Not this year.
Like most crowd-gathering events around the country, our little county fair has fallen victim to COVID-19. "See you in 2020!" the sign outside the fairground promises. Now, I don't face the keen disappointment of a kid who won't be able to show their prize calf, or the silver-haired grandma whose needlework won't sport a blue ribbon this year. But I do have one pressing concern: how am I supposed to get my annual fix of tasty fair food?
I've never been one to fill up on super-sweet treats (at least not since the year I downed a bag of greasy mini-donuts just before boarding the Tilt-A-Whirl. Pro tip: Don't do that.)
More substantial fair fare, however, is definitely a highlight of my summer. I love the buttery corn on the cob, the golden-brown corn dogs, and especially those buckets o' fries. Face the coming six months of winter without the fortification of my favorite fried foods-on-a-stick? Unthinkable!
Happily, Tastefully Simple lets me make my own versions of these yummies – and they're generally healthier than the originals, too. Win! Win! Here's on my fair-at-home menu:
- Bourbon Bacon Hot Dogs. A better substitute for my usual limp footlong, this dog is wrapped in tasty bacon and brushed with Bayou Bourbon Glaze. I may even top 'em with Bountiful Beer Bread-battered onion rings. It's fair time, after all!
- Mini Corn Dogs. Speaking of Bountiful Beer Bread batter – did you know you can make your own little corndogs with it, too? These little puppies are almost too cute to eat.
- Fire-Roasted Corn on the Cob. I plan to slather butter on these grilled-in-the-husk cobs and walk around the backyard while I eat them, pretending I'm on the Midway.
- Caramel Cream Soda Float. I won't be testing my stomach on any thrill rides, so it's safe to indulge in this ultimate summer treat. Ice cream, soda and Creamy Caramel Sauce.
- Italian Fries. Ah, the real reason I'm drawn to the fair (It's certainly not the odor of animal dung and hot grease!) My motto has always been, "No matter how many fries there are, there are never enough fries." I'll be making at least two batches of these superbly seasoned specimens, cooked in the air fryer so they'll be … ahem …healthyish.