Carnival Foods, America’s Dirty Little Secret

“The link between sugar and cavities have never been truly confirmed.  I say, let your dentist worry about it.”

~Milton S. Hershey

One of the least controversial statements an American can make is, “Carnivals are fucking awesome.”  Be it a state fair, a traveling amusement park, or a Cruise line where many passengers get gastronomical illnesses, carnivals encompass everything American, from the games of chance meant to scam hardworking marks to the impressively unhealthy food inventions that they spawn.

Carnival food in particular has become a bit of a cultural phenomenon in recent years, coinciding with the increasingly “Foodie” culture that many white people Americans have embraced.  After the breakdown of the “health food” movement, Americans correctly realized that they had wasted a good portion of the late 90’s eating things like “soy beans” and “wheatgrass” and other strange foods that come in unnatural colors like “green” and “brown.”  So Americans everywhere flocked to carnivals to revel in what carnivals do best: shortsighted innovation!

“So how about we take sugar, add some food coloring, spin it until it’s fluffy, and then stuff it in a bag a small child’s head can and will fit in?”


As Americans, it’s our duty to go out of our way to find food that will wage war against our small intestines.  And Carnivals, state fairs, and outdoor festivals give Americans the best opportunity to ingest their yearly calorie intake in just a few minutes.  And goddamn it if that doesn’t sound American as hell to us.  Here are the most American foods you’ll every pay a Carnie to put in your mouth.

Deep Fried Olives

Deep frying an olive is a lot like soliciting a hermaphroditic prostitute.  At first, you think, “God, no way would that be appetizing,” but  the more you think about it, the more you become curious about it.  And soon it starts to consume your thoughts, and you just absolutely have to try it.  Wouldn’t the saltiness of the olive compliment the greasiness of the fried dough, you wonder.  Is there cheese in the middle of the olives, and if so, how would that enhance the flavor, you ask.  If the prostitute has male genitalia, doesn’t that mean he/she’d know how to handle his/her way around your business better, you daydream.  What?  Why are you looking at us like that?  It’s not gay to wonder about that.  It’s not.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Deep Fried Pizza

In case you weren’t clear, writing about carnival food is going to involve a lot of deep fried foods.  Just a whole mess of it.  It’s because the most lazy way to make something unhealthy is to deep fry it, and the most American way to be unhealthy is one that requires little effort on the creators part.  It’s really just a perfect storm of America.  When you hear about someone deep frying a pizza, you half expect it to be an SNL commercial parody, don’t you?  Nope, deep fried pizza is very real and, we have to assume, delicious.  And we can’t verify this, but we’re pretty sure the existence of deep fried pizza is directly responsible for the existence of this picture…

Hey, speaking of ruining your childhood memories…

Kool-Aid Dill Pickle

That’s right.  One part pickle, one part kool-aid, three parts “What the shit is this!?  Alright, I’ll give it a try anyway.”  These are a staple in several Southern fairs, and require pickles to be brined in kool-aid.  There’s something unsettling about taking one of the most phallic vegetables and making it glow in the dark like a radiation fallout porn star.  But, then again, we have nothing but respect for the madman who decided to take a dill pickle, and figured the only way to make it better would be to soak it through and through with just obscene amounts of sugar and carcinogenic dye.  But, since this was originally a vegetable, and frying isn’t involved, we should probably bring back in the overly fried foods.

Deep Fried Coca-Cola

Leave it to America to figure out a way to turn matter from a “liquid” state to a “Fried” state, but dammit, Texas was able to figure it out.  Taking Coke flavored dough, you pour coke syrup into the dough, and then fry it, preferably while punching your physician in the throat.  Garnish with a picture from your teenage years when you were once physically fit, and viola!

Bacon Cheeseburgers with Fried Donuts as Buns

You know you’re making a good food decision when, while glancing at your meal for the first time, you think it sort of looks like a Muppet.  We’re not crazy thinking that, right?  Just put some googly eyes on that, and name it like, Burgoff or something, and he’s a loveable Jim Henson creation.  That also looks delicious.  We’re not nutritionists or anything, but if we had to guess how many calories this thing had, we’d have to guess…a million?  That sounds about right, doesn’t it?  A million?

Donkey Tails

Despite sounding like a term you would not want to find on urban dictionary (oh God it is on urban dictionary…oh god, it’s AWFUL) a Donkey Tail is where you take a hot dog, stuff it with cheese, wrap it in a tortilla, and fry the shit out of it.  If that’s not a terrifying enough gastric concept, a recipe of it happens to be online, and it looks remarkably easy to make.  Are we all making that for every lunch for the next week until the first staff member suffers a ruptured abdomen?  Are firework injuries the most American way you can cripple yourself?  Exactly.

Spaghetti and Meatball on a Stick

It’s somewhat disturbing to see spaghetti cut up to be put inside a meatball.  It’s just not natural.  But we can’t complain, because any food, when served on a stick becomes 50% tastier, 100% more American, and 200% more mobile.

And finally, the ultimate sign of American unhealthy ingenuity…

Butter Sculptures

God…god damn it America.  Look at you.  Look at you, you glorious bastards!  Not only do an obscene amount of people like to make sculptures out of butter, they even are able to confuse “sexuality” with…well, butter.

“Oh, that’s not too bad, that’s just an iconic Hollywood image of Marilyn Monroe, it’s just…”

Oh, wait for it, reader.

“I..My…my libido is…very confused right now…”

Ours too, America.  Ours too.  If you’ll excuse us, we’ll be making some Donkey Tails and trying to erase some fantasies from our minds.

7 responses to “Carnival Foods, America’s Dirty Little Secret

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