1. Hot Beef Sundae
Iowa State Fair, Des Moines (August 9–19)
THE FIXINS: One scoop of instant mashed potatoes, four ounces shredded beef, and Sysco’s Premium #10 gravy, topped with cheese and a grape tomato.
EASE YOUR GUILT: You get a whopping 11 grams of protein. Plus there’s the tomato.
2. Funnel Cake
North Carolina State Fair (May 18–20)
THE FIXINS: A batter of sugar, eggs, and milk drizzled onto a greased griddle and topped with powdered sugar.
EASE YOUR GUILT: Just think of it as a pancake.
3. Cheese on a Stick
Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul (August 23–September 3)
THE FIXINS: Three-quarter-inch American-cheese block, dipped in cornmeal batter, deep-fried in vegetable oil, and smothered with ketchup and mustard.
EASE YOUR GUILT:Minnesota State Fair regulations require the oil to be trans-fat-free, so your chance of heart attack is reduced.
4. Deep-Fried Twinkie
Indiana State Fair, Indianapolis (August 3–19)
THE FIXINS: A frozen Twinkie dipped in a batter of flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and vanilla extract, fried in oil until golden brown and flaky. Topped with fruit compote, sugar, and cinnamon.
EASE YOUR GUILT: Minus the toppings, it has fewer calories than a half-gallon of lemonade.
Texas State Fair, Dallas (September 28–October 21)
THE FIXINS: One banana wrapped in a flour tortilla and quick-fried in canola oil, then smothered with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, cinnamon, honey, vanilla extract, peaches, strawberries, and hot caramel apples.
EASE YOUR GUILT: There’s fruit involved.