Photo by Aaron Ricca.
Check out the Mohave County Fair and find out. County fairs are as American as fried apple pie, or fried Twinkies if you prefer. County fairs have been a tradition in this country since the mid-1800s and for good reason. They bring the community together for some fun, food and a little healthy competition.
The most ubiquitous foods at the fair are cotton candy, funnel cakes and anything on a stick. After all, who can resist the puffy swirls of pink and white sugar? But truth be told cotton candy is mostly air and a standard serving is a mere one hundred calories and has no cholesterol and no fat. The cotton candy that we now see at every fair was, believe it or not, invented by a dentist, though its origins date back to 15th-century Italy when Italian cooks would create fantastic sculptures from spun sugar – in essence edible art.
And why do they call those cakes funnel cakes? Because they are poured through a funnel into hot oil to fry them. Funnel cakes first appeared in medieval cooking and were called mincebek, mistembec or cryspes – for the French phrase mis en bec meaning to put in a spout. Funnel cake does roll off the tongue a little easier than mincebek. They were a treat reserved for holidays and celebrations and are now served all over the world. Australia tops theirs with plum jam and Finland tops theirs with apples and cinnamon.
And we can’t forget food on a stick; waffles on a stick, deep fried Oreo cookies on a stick, butter, frozen coffee and even banana split on a stick (I would have to see that to believe it).
So join your neighbors, take a stroll through the county fair and embrace your inner child.
And don’t forget the cotton candy.