Jeff Smith 12:15 p.m., April 24
Meta Fair Fare
This year's deep-fried specialty? Deep-fried deep-fried. Batter Up!
INJECTING PAINT THINNER IN AN EFFORT TO CLEAR THE ARTERIES, SAN DIEGO FAIR - It started, ironically enough, with an attempt to dodge the deep-fried. Kelly Johnson had been working the deep fryer at the Fry This! stand for eight hours straight on the first day of the San Diego County Fair. "On the first day, everyone wants deep-fried. Everyone. It's like they've been waiting all year to do this to themselves. We never stopped frying - butter, Kool-Aid, ice cream, Snickers bars, chocolate cake, Cheetos, waffles - you name it. Plus, of course, chicken and stuff."
Come quitting time, Johnson was too tired to head to another stand for dinner, "But I knew I couldn't stand anything deep-fried. I do, however, love the way that deep-frying seals in the juices on a chicken breast. So I fried one up for myself," then peeled off the thick, crunchy, golden-brown layer of deep fried goodness to get at the meat. Just then, Johnson's co-worker Ed Mackleford snagged the peeled-off layer from her hand. "I think he was going to eat it, but it was hotter than he expected, and he dropped it into the fry batter. As he fished it out, you could practically see the big, greasy light bulb go off over his head. We're going to make so much money this summer. May God have mercy on our souls."