In the lead up to the Lone Star State’s annual pageant of food that could never be part of a sustainable human diet, the best tasting and most creative food winners at the Texas State Fair have been announced. With a concessions archive that includes everything from fried chicken in a waffle to deep-fried Dorito pizza, it’s probably easier by now to list the foods that haven’t been deep fried at the fair yet. This year, it was Jell-O’s turn to answer the call.
Ruth Hauntz, longtime State Fair concessionaire and adorable little old lady, has taken the Big Tex Choice Award for best-tasting food with fried Jell-O balls. After months of R&D, the well-guarded process involves flash-frying chunks of cherry Jell-O -- that miraculously remain gelatinous -- coated in a panko crust that expands to a beignet-like consistency before being served with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry.
Most creative dish accolades went to Isaac Rousso for his invention of cookie fries; dough made from sugar cookie batter (not potatoes) with sprinkles formed into the signature crinkle shape and served with a cup of strawberry dipping sauce that mirrors a shade of ketchup. With last year's smoky bacon margarita, Rousso has take back-to-back Big Tex awards. We smell a dynasty forming.