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8 carnival foods we dare you to try

By: Matt Hickman on Aug. 23, 2011, 7:49 a.m.
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Battered, fried and served on a stick

Remember when eating at the local fair was a relatively straightforward — albeit unhealthy — affair where the most exotic fried item was dough? Although beloved fairground staples like corn dogs, elephant ears and cotton candy are alive and well (and facing no threat of losing their titles as the primary source of post-fair heartburn), there’s a new breed of midway munchies on the scene that are unhealthy enough to bring Dr. Oz to tears and weird enough to give Andrew Zimmerman new material for years.

Taking a quick detour from our normal preoccupation with healthy and nutritious eating, here’s a not-for-the-faint-of-heart look (and a gag, depending on how you feel about chocolate-covered scorpions and Spam curds) at some of America’s most unusual, most unnecessary and most diet-unraveling fairground grub. Sadly, the very existence of most of these deep-fried gut-busters aren’t helping to combat the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic as state fairs, despite their smattering of healthy options, remain a relatively nutrition-free zone where the greasy, the fatty and the fried reign supreme. Still, it’s fun to gawk, but if you’re anything like us, just reading about some of these items may have you eating rice cakes and raw vegetables for weeks.