The summer season is a time for ice cream, trips to the beach, and . . . state and county fairs! The food selection at state and county fairs is now more diverse and delicious than ever before, ranging from timeless classics like apple pie and corn dogs to new inventions like spicy peanut butter and jelly cheeseburgers and fried Coca-Cola®!
Award-winning chef, best-selling author, and renowned educator George Geary celebrates the weird and wonderful foods sold at state and county fairs with his new book, Fair Foods: The Most Popular and Offbeat Recipes from America’s State and County Fairs (Santa Monica Press/August 2017). This illustrated cookbook features 120 recipes of some of the most interesting and unusual foods served at fairs across the USA.
“For 28 seasons, I was involved in the largest county fair in the country: the Los Angeles County Fair,” says Geary. “During that time, I watched as the focus of the fair moved from blue ribbons and homemade pie bake-offs to the rows and rows of vendors that now hawk crazy food combinations. Around 1980, ‘classic’ fair food began to evolve from cotton candy and snow cones to bacon-wrapped doughnuts fried in pork belly fat. Not all the food sold at the fair is fried, but the motto of today’s county fair might as well be ‘Just Fry It!’”
Fair Foods highlights not only the new culinary “classics” at state and county fairs but also longstanding favorites. Some of the recipes in the book include:
- Maple and Bacon Doughnuts
- The World’s Gooiest Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Caramel Kettle Corn
- Fried Sweet Potato Sticks
- Ten-Pound Cheese Buns
- Triple Cheeseburger Doughnuts
- Cheesecake on a Stick
- Chocolate-Encased Bacon
- Deep-Fried Twinkies®
- Fried Coca-Cola®
- Deep-Fried Oreos®
- Bacon-Wrapped Tater Tots with Dill Dipping Sauce
- Firehouse Chili with Peppers
- Grilled Pork Chops on a Stick
- Spicy Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheeseburgers
- Egg Cream
- Funnel Cake with Berries
- Old-Fashioned Salted Pretzels
Each page of Fair Foods is illustrated with photographs of America’s most beloved fair foods, as well as vintage and contemporary images of rides, attractions, and nostalgic ephemera from the fair.
Fair Foods captures the joy and spirit of America’s greatest county fairs. You don’t have to wait for fair season to make these wacky and wonderful foods—now you can enjoy them all year long!
About the Author
George Geary is an award-winning chef, best-selling author, and renowned educator. A former pastry chef for the Walt Disney Company, George is a Certified Culinary Professional and was recently chosen as the Culinary Educator of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He is perhaps best known for creating all the cheesecakes for The Golden Girls and other top-rated television programs.
George has worked as a critic and/or judge for ABC’s The Taste with Anthony Bourdain, The American Baking Competition with Jeff Foxworthy, Hell’s Kitchen, Supermarket Superstar, and many other popular television shows. He also teaches cooking classes aboard Holland America Lines.
For over thirty years, Geary has been a culinary contest judge for such major food manufacturers as Canola Producers, Veg-All, Hormel Foods, the Hershey Company, Knott’s Berry Farm Foods, Ghirardelli Chocolate, Fleischmann’s Yeast, the San Diego Union-Tribune, ABC News, and much more. From 1982 to 2010, George was the culinary coordinator of the Los Angeles County Fair.
George is the author of L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants, as well as nine cookbooks including The Cheesecake Bible, The Complete Baking Cookbook, and 125 Best Cheesecake Recipes. He is a frequent guest on national and local television and lives in Los Angeles.
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