I can’t remember the exact year, but fairly sure it was in the late 1960’s, when my family would make our annual trip to the Tulsa State Fair, I was walking through the midway looking at the side shows trying to choose which tent I wanted to enter. I was only allowed by my mother to see one side show, because it probably cost as much as 50 or 75 cents to go in these side shows. Well, this particular year, I had narrowed my choice down to either going inside a replica of the home from the television show “Bonanza,” or to see the car that Bonnie and Clyde were in when they met their demise. I chose to view the Bonnie and Clyde car. Ironically, several years later, I stumbled on to this same car at a California/Nevada state line casino, and viewed it for free this time.
The Tulsa State Fair has been a part of my life for many years, from going with my parents and grandparents as a child, to attending with my family while my kids very growing up. In later years, I attended the fair with my grandkids on occasion. I have many special memories associated with the fair throughout the years with some more prevalent than others. The one that stands out the most is the last time my late wife and I attended it together. It was about two years before she passed away; we had decided to drive down to the fair for the state fiddling contest. I can’t remember if I played in it or not, but if I did, it was the last time I entered it. When the contest was over, we decided to grab some fair food and stroll through the midway. It was a very pleasant evening, weather wise, and we had an enjoyable time walking that evening. I guess I remember this, because the very next year, when I said “Let’s go to the fair” and she told me to go ahead and go on my own because she didn’t feel like it, I knew then, she was a lot sicker than I realized, as she would never have declined that offer if she wasn’t deathly ill, and she was. I don’t remember what fair food item I had that last stroll through the fair together, but I do remember what she had, it was grilled shrimp on a skewer, which was not unusual, as she also would never pass at an opportunity to dine on seafood.
Fair food, just like most everything else has changed throughout the years. What they have to offer these days is almost unlimited. Now granted, a lot of that stuff is far too fancy for me, like deep fried candy bars, and things like that, I still enjoy feasting on some of the more subtle items at the fair. I remember when funnel cakes first appeared at the state fair and they have maintained throughout the years. Other items like chopped BBQ sandwiches, foot long hotdogs, and other things have been around for years. When I started attending the Texas State Fair several years ago, my fair favorite quickly became the corny dog, which incidentally was invented at the Texas State Fair by a family named Fletcher. You can still get those Fletcher Corny Dogs at the Texas State fair, and they are well worth the 30 wait in line to get one. Another item, that I’m sure has been around for years, but has only caught my attention the last few years, is grilled corn on the cob. When I first saw this, it made me wonder why anybody would pay those high fair prices for a 33-cent ear of corn. But, it’s the fair, so price is meaningless to many, but to me, I prefer to grill my own 33 cent an ear corn at home and I would bet that it is just as good as or better than what you can get on the midway. I like my corn slathered with plenty of butter and salt and pepper, but these ears of corn can be doctored anyway you like and delicious……
10 to 12 ears of Peaches and Cream Corn
¼ Cup Oil (Olive or Crisco)
½ stick butter
1 Teaspoon coarse ground Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ Teaspoon Sweet Paprika (optional)
Pull husks back on corn, wash and clean out the silks. Soak corn in cold water 2 to 4 hours. Use paper towel to remove moisture from corn after soaking. Melt butter and mix with remaining ingredients. Use pastry brush to cover corn with the oil, butter, and spice mixture. Pull the husks back up over the corn and place on the smoker at about 225F and cook for 1 to 1.5 hours until corn is tender and done. Can serve as is, or add more melted butter if you desire.