“Fair” Eatin’!

When I was writing my latest book, I ended up thinking about food a lot. This isn’t a new thing. Food usually plays a big part in my books, because, well, I like to cook and I like to eat.  🙂
My heroine is a baker – specifically a cupcake baker, and she’s “roped” into making special cupcakes for a charity fundraiser at the Cadence Creek Rodeo.  It did get me thinking about rodeo and fair food and what makes it so good. When I was growing up we had “The Exhibition” and it was an agricultural fair as well as stage shows and a midway. Harness racing instead of rodeo, but similar in that food vendors were everywhere. I was never one for candy apples or cotton candy, but I always loved one particular vendor who sold burgers and fries. The line ups were huge but worth it. Sometimes I’ll smell meat and hot grease somewhere and  immediately think “that smells like Exhibition”. Whether or not the food is fantastic or not, there’s no denying that it’s tied into memory!

When I was in Calgary I hit the Stampede Grounds a few times and the offerings are slightly different but perhaps even more tasty. My two favourites were Beef on a Bun – succulent shaved roast beef piled on a crusty bun – and the ever popular mini-doughnuts that came fresh out of the grease and seemed to melt on your tongue. The last time I was in Calgary, I bought a bag of them at Calaway Park, an amusement park on the west side of town. Delicious.

Those things are all at the Cadence Creek Rodeo, too – but in THE LAST REAL COWBOY I added something else: a chili cook-off. In my latest (still waiting on a title), it’s rodeo season again and the chili contest is a fundraiser for the Butterfly House women’s shelter. My heroine is making cupcakes to go along with that event, and I figured they needed to be something with a little kick. Chocolate Chili cupcakes were the answer, with Cream Cheese Chili Buttercream. Yee haw!

Do you have a favourite “fair” food?

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10 thoughts on ““Fair” Eatin’!”

  1. Now you’ve done it, Donna. I’ll be munching all day. Love the memories of the smells.
    When I was a little girl I thought cotton candy was magical. Loved the way it melted on my little tongue. Now it’s just sugar. Sigh.

  2. MMMMM….there is so many to choose from. I have not attended many fairs but have been going to the State Fair the last few years since it is now in Grand Island and we can stay with family. Cannot beleive all the different food that are sold. Love the lemonade. And the roast beef sandwiches, Had to try the Deepfat fried oreos and twinkies. But I think I like the funnel cakes best!

  3. Lori – gyros. I think they are similar to what we call donairs in this part of the world! If they are, YUM YUM!

    Goldie – what is pineapple whip?

    Connie – I have always wanted to try funnel cake. It’s a very American thing, I think. When I was at Disney a few years ago, I was going to get one on our way out of the park. When we went to leave, it was closed. 🙁

  4. I love fair food. But I think my favorite is apple fritters. They’re to die for. They simply melt in your mouth. Hot and sugary. Hmmmm, the people in my stories tend to eat a lot also. Guess that tells what I like to do. LOL

  5. Donna, at the Texas State Fair the biggest mystery is what will they deep fry next? Twinkies, Snickers, Oreos… you name it, they’ll batter and fry it. A couple of years ago it was deep fried butter–don’t ask me how they pulled that one off. 🙂

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