I’ve seen so many special interest stories on “fair food” lately. Usually, it’s some poor local news reporter sent to gag down something strange that’s been battered, fried and shoved on a stick.
It got me thinking about how this is a cultural phenomenon that is pure Sensory Appeal™. This wave always has slightly kooky stuff in it. That’s because it’s about switching things up and making something new out of the familiar. The Human Truth™ is: “I want a new sensation.”™ That’s definitely what the winner of the most creative award at the recent Texas State Fair was going for, because he gave bubble gum a whole new sensation.
Justin Martinez created balls of bubblegum-flavored marshmallows dipped in batter, fried and decorated with icing and powdered sugar. All the of the top 8 were targeting the senses by re-inventing well-known favorites. There was Buffalo Chicken in a flapjack, Deep-Fried Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Deep-Fried Texas Salsa™, El Bananarito, Fried Autumn Pie, Hans’ Kraut Ball, and a Walking Taco(?).
Click here to to see intrepid reporter Eric Hanson eat a whole stick of butter dipped in a cinnamon honey batter and deep-fried then coated in a sugary glaze. Yes, you read that right. I believe he’s still alive. Actually, the idea is that the butter melts and soaks your honey pancake-like thingy from the inside…you know, ‘coz the deep frying and sugar glaze just isn’t enough.
The fun of these food innovations is that they are decadent, unexpected and sometimes down right freaky. It’s perfect for the atmosphere of state fairs… especially since it’s not “PC” to peer at bearded ladies or similar side show freaks of yesteryear.
When you target the senses you quickly pique people’s interests and, if you do it right, leave them dazzled.