The 2009 Los Angeles County Fair opened September 5 and I’m reminded that back in the Seventies I once joined the late Bruce Pelz and other LASFSians to roam the Pomona Fairgrounds.
In the mid-Seventies the most calorie-laden food in sight was a Belgian Waffle heaped with toppings and whipped cream. I dug right in. Nothing to be proud of, yet today I could be doing infinitely worse damage to myself with contemporary offerings like deep-fried Snickers bars. The very idea sounds so funny to me there’s no doubt my younger self would have tried one.
Such things are sold at state and county fairs around the country. The Portland Oregonian recently analyzed foods for sale at these fairs looking for the absolutely worst thing you could put in your body:
Imagine searching through the fairgrounds for a decent meal, belly grumbling like a 4-H hog: That hot dog sounds tasty, but how much fat fills a foot of sausage casing? The 1/3-pound burger seems a bit better, but it’s not exactly health food. Then there’s that smoked turkey leg — it’s poultry, so it must be heart-healthy, right?
Diana always resorts to the turkey leg at the county fair – it’s turkey, how bad can it be?
Fairly bad, she’s discovered:
While no one expects fair food to be exactly healthy, some results are shocking.
A 19-ounce smoked turkey leg — with skin, of course — delivers 1,135 calories and 54 fat grams. That’s a full day’s fat supply: Government guidelines suggest average adults eat about 2,000 calories and 44 to 78 grams of fat each day.
The bird leg mounts a bigger arterial attack than the 1/3-pound burger (670 calories, 41 fat grams) or the footlong frank (550 calories and 41 fat grams). By comparison, the ever-popular corn dog has just 250 calories and 14 grams of fat (add 50 percent for a jumbo 6-ounce corn dog). In other words, you could have four corn dogs and load up fewer calories than one big drumstick…
Remember you could eat a hot dog, a chicken taco, an ear of corn, a side of baked beans, a churro and an ounce-and-a-half of chocolate fudge — all adding up to less fat and calories than the big turkey leg.
The Oregonian staff recommends the frozen chocolate-covered banana – it’s just 240 calories and 4 fat grams. If you eat just one.
[Via Laura Simmons.]
I’ve been fat-challenged since I was kidnapped by aliens who removed my gall bladder and part of my pancreas. Now I eat out a lot less and choose my foods fairly carefully at Trader Joe’s. And use my Canadian pancreatic enzyme pills a lot, sigh…
Ken Levine’s thoughts about the fair at “By Ken Levine”, here:
John Hertz sent in a postcard of comment making a statistical defense of the turkey leg:
One 19 oz. turkey leg = 1.2 lbs –> 1,135 cal
One 1/3 lb. hamburger = 0.3 lbs
1/3 lb. hamburger @ 670 cal. x 3 –> 2,010 cal
One 1.2 lb. turkey leg –> 54 g fat
One 1/3 lb. hamburger @ 41 g x 3 –> 124 g fat
/s/ Your fan, JH
My ex-wife used to drag me to the Arizona State Fair year after year in the 1980’s and ‘90’s. As the years went by I began to dread the experience more and more, and although our divorce was not my idea, it might have been worthwhile just to get out of ever attending that miserable event again.
Aside from the overpriced admission, the horrendous (and overpriced) food, and the grimy, pathetic (and overpriced) carnival rides, the people who attended the annual event seemed to be the sort who exemplified the term “the great unwashed.”
But most depressing of all were the musical acts on the state fair circuit. The only thing sadder than the flotsam and jetsam who paid to get into the fair were the down and out musicians who played the event. Acts so far past their prime that…well, here’s an example. Guess who played the San Diego County Fair in June of this year? Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Yes, Janis Joplin’s one-time back up band. Half a century after their one shot at the big time, these poor, sad, relics are still out there, trying to make a comeback of some sort, still thinking they might have some tiny scrap of a career left. The pathos is enough to make the Pope advocate euthanasia.