NAYLOR: Fry the Damn Dough -- The Joy of Carny Cooking

It's a hot weather thing. Only way to explain it.

Why else do carnivals, those rolling sideshows of summer, no matter how rickety or skank-intensive, continue to pack in crowds year after year? Not to mention the shabby, off-brand circuses currently making the rounds, and the fairs, both county and state, which still do a brisk biz. And no, it's not the rides, the attractions, or the chance to rub elbows with, and peruse the T-shirts of, the inbred.

It's not those bizarro games of chance where you can win a Motley Crue mirror or a roach clip adorned with spray painted feathers. It's not even that heady aroma of sunbaked animal manure or the sultry allure of gelatinous chain-smoking gals bouncing around the grounds in tube tops.

It's the chow, chachi. Plain and simple. The culinary abandon of that greasy grub they peddle on the midway.

Grazing from food booth to food booth, reveling in the buffet of batter-coating, it's like swallowing artery caulk, but bursting with flavor. Nothing screams summer like deep fried foods on a stick. The kind you can't get at home. Until now.

Just check out this infomercial airing on the Carny Channel.

Mom: Hurry and wash up for dinner, Billy. We're having your favorites, Sloppy Joes, corn on the cob and chocolate fudge cake.

Boy: Aw, Mom, that stuff blows. Why can't we have elephant ears or fried dough like we do when the carnival's in town?

Mom: I've told you before, carnival foods are complicated. They require special equipment that I just don't have here in my kitchen. What the ... ?! (The back door opens and a man enters the kitchen.)

Man: Now hold on there, Mrs. Jablonsky. I'm not in the habit of calling women liars, but you're a dirty, stinking, stupidhead liar. Because thanks to the all new Greasinart, you can enjoy your favorite midway foods in the comfort of your home.

Mom: The Greasinart?

Man: Yes, the good people at Carnyco have designed a single appliance that prepares all the delicacies you normally associate with circuses, carnivals and illegal cock fights. Just think, fried dough, fried cheese, cheese on a stick, dough on a stick, corndogs, doughdogs, fried dough poppers, fried weasel penis on a stick, and many more, whenever your family craves them.

Mom: But how is that possible?

Man: Good question. The Greasinart is a combination dough processor and deep fryer, with hot grease vat and top mounted hot grease trays. (Hot grease begins sizzling and popping) The problem you have at home is you can get your grease hot, but not hot enough. Not disfiguring hot. That's what sears in that special carnival flavor.

Boy: Mom, this corndog burns and it tastes like tattoos.

Man: Sure it does, Billy. There's a little bit of the midway in every bite.

Mom: But aren't all those foods deep fried in hot grease awfully fattening?

Man: Just ask yourself this, have you ever seen a portly or plump carny?

Mom: Now that you mention it, no. They all have a stringy drifter's build, with sharp rat-like features.

Man: Exactly. And this product is 100 percent carny tested, carny approved. The same technology which carny folk harnessed to become pioneers in the field of stick mounted foodstuffs is perfected in the Greasinart. Plus, the Greasinart's compact size means it fits in any kitchen. Why, it's no bigger than freak show veteran, Crotcho, The Human Torso. And look how little counter space he takes up.

Crotcho: Hey, I'm laying in something sticky up here and I don't think it's me.

Mom: Wow! That is handy.

Man: That a boy, Crotcho. Order your Greasinart today and you can win this giant stuffed Tweety Bird. No home should be without one. Come on, what do you say? Nobody's a loser. Step right up and give it a try. Hurry, hurry! Take a chance.

Boy: Gee, when I grow up I want to be a carny.

Man: Why wait, Billy? You can drop out of school and join up right now. Everybody knows education is for suckers. The carny foreman is looking for someone to flea comb Gabora the Gorilla Girl and to sell bootleg cigarettes out of the back of the ring toss game.

Boy: Can I, Mom? Please!

Mom: I guess it will be okay. But be sure to eat all your deep fried vegetables on a stick, and to write when you get to the next town. And do what the other carnies tell you. They always seem to know best.

Man: Come on, Billy, I'll drive you over myself. We just have one quick stop to make. Pop quiz: have you ever shoplifted porn magazines while the liquor store clerk is being distracted?

Boy: Not yet I haven't.

Man: You're going to do just fine, Billy.

Crotcho: The Greasinart. Available now from Carnyco. Or wherever carnies congregate. Hey, is somebody going to help me down or what?

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