Archive for August 10th, 2010

Just got back from having a “wellness lunch” with a CFO friend at the state fair, which is similar to having a vegetarian over for a hog roast.  I sent an invitation out to the CFO Roundtable roster, and had several takers until the weather turned into an outdoor version of a pizza oven.  100 degrees and 100 percent humidity.

Mark Winzinread, CFO of WalkerInformation, made it.  We had a great time finding the one healthy meal served in air conditioning at the fair, and I can happily report that it was worth it.  While we were there, we were also interviewed for a short story in the Indianapolis Star on the issue of wellness and healthy behavior in modern times.  It should be in the Sunday paper.

Walking through the tunnel, heading to the mecca of deep fried everything

We agreed that we should find the healthiest food possible without being totally boring.  Mark had done some research and found that there was a “healthy cafe” in the Ag Pavilion, so we headed that way.  The lines were long at the “Cheeseburger on Krispy Kreme Doughnut” stand, the “Deep Fried Butter” stand, and the “Chocolate Covered Bacon” stand.

Yikes. Deep fried Pepsi?

We found the healthy cafe.  No line.  Our roast pork and green beans was excellent, high quality, low fat, and great flavor.  Yum.

Now, a few reasons why healthy food at the fair is often a failure.  First, fair food is best eaten as you walk.  A nice salad requires both hands or at least a table.  Second, people really like fat.  Third, they really like deep fried stuff, especially if it is fat before you deep fry it.  You could open a booth that sells deep fried kitchen sponges and make a fortune.  Fourth, people feel that all diets are kaput at fairs and on vacation.

Then there is the issue of marketing.  I swear that there is a “gross out” factor at work here, with signs detailing how they make deep fried Pepsi.

Some things are better left unsaid...

These are foods that are just plain odd for any other time of the year…

Greetings, Earthlings! We come in peace.

And then there is the giant floating Corn Dog, the oddly shaped icon that floats above a deep fry booth on the main drag like the farthest thing in your mind from a food item.

It seems vaguely alien.

I understand that the fair has a tradition of serving fresh food that can’t be found elsewhere, but if concerns me that we are spiraling out of control as we invent new “amazing food” every year that pushes the envelope to the edge every year. 

I offer two challenges – this year, go to the fair and do what Mark and I did – seek out tasty and nutritious food from the few brave vendors that offer it.  Next year, let’s push the fair to make the signature dish a little more wellness friendly.  We can try to get Indiana from 14th most obese state to 15th.  It would be a start…

My list of low fat, high quality food at this year’s fair:

Pickle on a stick

Grilled pork chop

Smoked turkey leg


…and that’s about it.  Oh, and I was able to get a lemon shakeup with Sweet ‘n low.   I asked the sweet corn guy what percentage of his customers asked for their corn without the bath in high cholesterol butter… “One percent.”  then he thought and corrected himself . “Make that one fourth of one percent.  Whaddaya, nuts?”


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