County Fair Week
How you doin’? When I was just a little kid my family took me to Los Angeles County Fair. I didn’t give a hoot or damn about the midway rides or prized-winning heifers. I was too busy with the carney food. Two of the main “gastronomic” attractions were corn dogs and cinnamon rolls and I would beg to have one of each the minute we got to the Pomona Fairgrounds. They weren't called corn dogs way back then—they were "Pronto Pups." The Pronto Pup was introduced in 1947, and lays claim—along with about 20 others that demand the same honor—to being the first corn dog made in the U.S.
Later, when I lived in Texas, I enjoyed "Corny Dogs," as they were called, at the Texas State Fairgrounds in Dallas. Same delicious treat, different name. The Corny Dog was introduced at the fair in 1938 (although some say ‘42). The New York Times remarked that there were corn dog stands at the city's beaches in 1947. By the way, you can still get a corn dog on the Coney Island boardwalk. If left up to former Mayor Bloomberg and his food police had their way, they would have been banned long ago.
Corn dogs are just wieners that have been thrust on a stick, dredged in a batter containing cornmeal (hence the name), and deep-fried. During the health-conscious final decades of the last century, corn dogs took a big hit, since their greasiness, carbohydrate intensity and shear hot-dogginess made them “off limits” to many diners. Yet they lived on at street fairs and Coney Island concessions—and in the supermarket freezer cases, though I don't know anyone who's ever bought them there. Well, not quite true—I tried them once, but oven baked corn dogs just weren’t the same.
Okay, so last night while rummaging through a couple of books in my food library I found my mother’s original corn dog recipe she used for my eleventh birthday party. I seemed to remember that her corn dogs were pretty darn good, but not better than anything I found in Pomona. So here it is…
Prep time: 15 minutes
Fry time: 4 minutes
Yield: 20 Corn Dogs
1 quart oil for deep frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 egg, beaten
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 pounds all-beef hot dogs
20 wooden sticks
Covid-19 Quip of the Day: If you believe all this nonsense will end and we will get things back to normal once we reopen everything—raise your hand! Now slap yourself with it, you silly fool, you.
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