The Great Recession triggered, among other things, a resurgence of comfort foods. Every menu in the country suddenly featured braised meats, stews, macaroni and cheese, and “food that mom used to make” as a way to remind us of seemingly safer, simpler times. It’s amazing how many of our fondest memories transport us back in time to family meals and favorite vacation spots. But, what happens when your body can no longer transport you to new places, and you’re suddenly forced to rely on your taste buds instead of your travel agent?
We faced this dilemma when considering how to provide Karen’s grandparents with a “fair food” experience in the comfort of their own home; as it is not as easy for them to get around at the fair anymore. How could we deny two senior citizens the delight of sugary elephant ears, gooey fried cheese and crispy sauerkraut balls…and maybe a salad? They say necessity is the mother of invention, and we’re inclined to believe it’s true. Thom subsequently created an annual tradition worthy of an appearance of “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
Picture Chef walking around the state fair with an insulated backpack and a roll of foil. Picture him asking every vendor to wrap the food in foil “to go.” People who know he is a chef getting “to go” food from the fair… Feel the heat radiating through his backpack on a 100 degree Indiana summer day.
Through the magic of reheating, we delivered the goods reasonably in-tact. The grandparents were pleased, and they’re already watching for this year’s menu. Fair-ly clever, don’t you think? The greatest part of this four-year tradition for us is listening to our grandparents tell their state fair stories…stories help us envision simpler times…with roasted ears of corn. We can just imagine Grandma festively walking around enjoying the lights and sounds of this grand annual event, and, Grandpa discussing the finer points of raising the world’s largest sow with friends and neighbors.
It is a great feeling to slow down and share a corn dog with a loved one.
Karen and Thom are Local Foodies who live in Metro Indianapolis. Thom is a culinary instructor at Ivy Tech Community College, and a steering committee member for Food for Thought. Karen works in corporate America in between volunteer engagements and shoe shopping.