WEST SPRINGFIELD- Today’s review of weird food to be found at the Big E took me on a journey I told myself years ago that I would never go on.
I have made peace with the fact that the Big E and similar fairs will be saturated with a variety of fried foods, including many foods one would not have thought could be fried. If you find that you have managed to fight through the traffic to park in the main Big E parking lot next to gate 9A, one of the first things you will find after entering the gate is one such fried food stand.
Marion’s Fried Dough is located front and center in the middle of the street where a large percentage of fairgoers enter the Big E. Besides the obvious fried dough, Marion’s sells fried butterballs, fried oreos, even fried jelly beans.
Then there is the fried Kool Aid.
Yes, you did read that correctly, they sell fried Kool Aid. Although I had seen iterations of it at previous fairs I had attended many times, I scoffed at the idea of ever personally buying one.
So of course, I bought one.
Seven dollars gets you three relatively large pieces of fried Kool Aid. They are hot, and too hot to eat right away in fact, as they are handed to you very shortly after they are removed from the fryer.
I wanted to wait and sit down to eat it, as this was on Monday during the peak heat, but I suddenly had an audience of people equally curious about the choices I was making.
So I bit into it while it was still a little hot, and while it burned a little, it was not too bad. It had the sort of fruity taste one would expect from a red bottle of Kool Aid, but the consistency of an extra “doughy” donut.
I do not know if I will ever get one again, as I typically have an aversion to overly fried foods like this, but I can imagine that this would somehow be enjoyable as a dessert during the colder months of the year.
I did not think to ask how fried Kool Aid could possibly be made, as my food was rather quickly being attacked by bees so I walked away from the stand. So I turned to some online recipes to fill in the gaps.
As it turns out, the Kool Aid is not fried as a liquid as I had pictured in my head for too many years. The Kool Aid powder that is typically used to make larger quantities of the drink is instead mixed into a batter, which is then fried in oil like most of the other fried foods.