Published in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on July 14, 2011, titled:
It’s fair (and fat) season
Fair Season is Fat Season
Fair season is fat season, and nowhere will it be celebrated with more fatty fervor than at the 160th Wisconsin State Fair beginning Aug. 4. That gives the rotund citizens of Wisconsin 11 lard-drenched days to celebrate their latest achievement, an adult obesity level of 27.4%, up from 25% in 2009.
Weigh to go, Wisconsin! Just keep cramming down those brats, fried curds and fish fries, and you’ll easily hit 30% by New Year’s.
Those who waddle this year through the gates in West Allis and to the fair’s food stalls will find deep fried butter, an ice cream sundae with bacon, and peanut butter cups deep fried in banana batter, according to a recent Journal Sentinel article.
But none of them comes close to what’s available from Grundhofer’s Old-Fashioned Meats in Hugo, Minn. Grundhofer’s is 340 miles northwest of West Allis, and its Gummy Bear Brats place it light years ahead of this year’s fair food. Nevertheless, there’s still time for some enterprising fair vendor to close that gap. After all, 340 miles is a mere 12-pack and three trays of curds away.
If fair season is fat season, it’s also fun season. That, it might be argued, is why deep fried butter and all the rest exist – for fun. For example, ice cream is for fun. There is little nutritional reason for the existence of ice cream. Brats are for fun, too. But there are healthier ways to give our bodies protein than by eating brats.
And you really don’t want to know what goes into the peanut butter cups deep fried in banana batter, or the deep-fried, bacon-wrapped hot dog on a stick or even an average brat. But, hey, we have to have some fun, right?
Agreed, but we don’t have to eat to do it. Eating is for nutrition. Eating is also supposed to be a bit boring so we’ll stop before we keep breaking our own adult obesity records.
Think about it. Wisconsin has gone from a 25% adult obesity level to 27.4% in two years. Unfortunately, that was the easy part. Going back to 25% will be the hard part. Achieving 20% may be impossible.
It doesn’t help when the fair’s spokeswoman tells the Journal Sentinel that deep-fried butter is “big, doughy, warm, butter-filled deep-fried goodness.” She’s paid to make promotional statements like that, but, in truth, deep-fried butter is well beyond nutritionally counterproductive. It might be argued that, to a healthy body, it’s relatively poisonous.
All of this might be marginally OK if the fat stopped when the fair ends. But it won’t. When the deep fryers are emptied and cold for another year and Wisconsinites have gone home, somewhere in the state’s restaurants, sports bars and road houses, the heart-stopping delicacies will be replicated.
It’s going to happen, and our adult obesity levels will accelerate. You might call that fun, but I call it disgusting. Because that’s what it is.
Copyright 2011 Karl Garson
Link to the essay in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/125602043.html