JANESVILLE—Eating unhealthy at the Rock County 4-H Fair isn't difficult.
The real challenge lies in choosing which greasy, overpriced treats to stuff into your face.
Gazette photographer Angela Major, reporter Catherine Idzerda and I trolled the fair Tuesday, trying to find food that was generally unhealthy (me) and generally healthy (Idzerda).
I started with a $5 6-inch corn dog, which ended up being my only “real” food of the day. I asked the guy behind the counter how many calories it had.
“I have no idea,” he said with a dumbfounded smile.
He might have been afraid to tell me.
On to the next course. We passed multiple booths advertising food skewered on sticks.
“Why does everything have to be on a stick?” Idzerda asked after seeing a pickle on a stick.
We had no answers.
A food server at one trailer gave the history of his business as we stood in line. A couple of men behind us gawked at the menu, which included a frosted cinnamon roll topped with cream cheese.
“That's a diabetic coma right there,” one of them said just a bit too loudly.
The vendor brushed it off with a smile, but I wasn't fooled. We moved on.
Idzerda's quest to eat only healthy foods became a challenge when so many fattening treats constantly taunted her.
The worst thing I ate had to be a deep-fried Snickers bar. My plastic fork bent and twisted as I tried to work through the outer layer into the melted chocolatey goodness beneath. Giving up, I used my fingers.
One bite was one too many. The treat was so rich I could hardly stand more than a couple of nibbles. Idzerda barely choked down one. I threw the rest away.
We moved on to the Optimists tent. I bought cheese curds, which were salty and delicious.
Idzerda tasked me with keeping the curds out of her reach. When I failed, she swore at herself and devoured whatever she could steal from me.
In turn, I stole some of her lemonade to wash it all down.
A co-worker shared her giant pretzel of liquid-soft bread. At $4, it was probably one the best values at the fair.
At this point, my stomach was crying out in protest. I'd hardly finished anything I'd started, but still the salt and grease were getting to me. The heat didn't help.
The three of us waddled a little farther before grabbing a $12 bucket of mini doughnuts to share at work and buying a cream puff to finish the day. The cream was cool and refreshing, but the sugary snack was not. I called it quits after a few measly bites.
Don't go to the fair hungry, or you're likely to leave with a tummy ache. Moderation is key if you want to enjoy all the deep-fried treats the fair has to offer.