Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

July 28, 2013

Fair foods take over summer

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — Would you eat a Twilly? For one day only, a restaurant unleashed their spin on hot dogs and Twinkies. The restaurant named Pittsburg Willy, a gourmet hot dog eatery — it is really located in Arizona despite its name — created the strange concoction on National Hot Dog Day. It combines 1 Twinkie, split down the middle and a grilled six-inch all-beef hot dog. The Twilly is covered in bacon bits and yes, peanut butter. The weird combination will probably end up on a menu somewhere soon. I have friends who would eat a Twilly; I am sure there are a few in the newsroom and a lot of readers who would order a Twilly, mostly out of curiosity.

As we approach the end of summer, foodies in southern West Virginia have more than one opportunity to satisfy their taste buds at local fairs and festivals. From the Bluefield Lemonade Festival to the State Fair of West Virginia, food vendors will sell everything from deep-fried Oreos to sweet savory BBQ to tempt the young and old. There will be traditional favorites like cotton candy, popcorn, candy apples, funnel cakes and giant cinnamon rolls. But for the adventure-seeker, there is plenty of unusual and unique treats, like the Twilly and more.

l In Florida, find cheeseburger with fried ice cream. One newspaper described it as a “milk-shake burger.”

l A foodie can find a hot beef sundae in Indiana. Layered with mashed potatoes, marinated beef, gravy, cheese and corn and top with a cherry tomato, this replaced the signature sandwich at the fair.

l  Texas has fried beer. The coating is pretzel dough and the recipe won 2010 Big Tex Choice Awards at the Texas State Fair.

l Further up north, folks in Montana fried butter.

l Want your pickle on the side? Kansas foodies enjoy a pickle popsicle — frozen just like a freeze pop — with their BBQ.

l  It may taste like chicken but in California, fair vendors are grilling up Python kebabs seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, Old Bay and lemon-pepper.

l  It isn’t close to Easter at all. Yet that didn’t stop Massachusetts State Fair from dipping jelly beans in batter and of course, dropping them in a deep fryer.

l Wisconsin loves Elvis so much that  fair vendors made this dessert: a deep fried banana-battered peanut butter cup with bacon.

l  I tried a chocolate candy bar with pieces of bacon last weekend. It was OK. I wouldn’t mind trying Ohio’s version of a “muddy pig” — chocolate-covered bacon on a stick.

l Sugar is a common ingredient in most recipes at fairs and festivals. Kool-aid pickles combine sweet and sour at the North Carolina State Fair.

In southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia, one can expect to find more traditional fares. Or at least I haven’t came across a vendor selling deep fried road-kill or alligator yet. Some of my favorite memories are walking around fair grounds smelling salty popcorn, sweet cotton candy and savory BBQ. For one night only, fair foods, even strange combinations like a Twilly, taste better and compliment the humid evening air. It goes together, just like Elvis and peanut butter and Twinkie and a deep fryer.

Jamie Parsell is the Lifestyle editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at jparsell@bdtonline or on Twitter @BDTParsell.