Racoon for dinner
Alameda County Fair!!! I love the fair!!
I’m a city boy, from the wilds of Brooklyn. Going to the county fair, with the food and the animals and the sideshow and the jams and jellies and the people selling all sorts of strange stuff is just the greatest fun for me.
The big news at the Fair this year is the guy selling really weird food. Lion. Ostrich, Kangaroo. Scorpions. Maggots. You just know I had to go try this out.
Getting Gail to go with me was more of a challenge–she’s waaaay too hip, slick and cool for the down-home cheesiness of a county fair. But when I told her that we were going out for dinner of raccoon on a stick, I finally persuaded her.
Attendance at the fair tonight wasn’t all that spectacular–I’ve been there when people were backed up onto 680S waiting to get into the parking lot, but not tonight. We spent the big bucks for premium parking, and got right up front. Made the money back because it was $3.00 night and the admission was really cheap. I didn’t even have to lie and tell them I’m a senior.
It took a while to find Jungle George, but perseverance pays off and soon we were in front of the grill, stacked up with racoon carcasses grilling away. I paid my $7.75, and got a skewer stacked with the red meat, and the moment of truth had arrived.
I’m fairly adventurous. I’ve eaten deer, elk, caribou, wild boar, ostrich, buffalo and crickets. This wasn’t all that great a stretch for me. And the answer is: racoon is pretty good. Tender, flavorful, fairly lean, sort of like pork but red like beef. I liked it. Not gamy at all, but then this stuff is farm raised (for the fur; the meat is really a sideline for the growers). If I went back, I’d try the kangaroo sausages. They tried to have lion meat, but the sanctimonious snits at PETA put up a fuss.
So that was great, now to enjoy the rest of the fair. Gail had a bite of the ‘coon, which she had to admit was fine, but we both needed more sustenance for dinner.
This is California, we try to eat some kind of an at least moderately healthy diet, but the fair just demands that you pig out on dietary disasters.
I chose the corn dog. Obscene in every way, there’s something about an enormous dog covered in corn meal and deep fried that speaks to my heart–which we shouldn’t tell the cardiologist.
Gail just went for a basic greasy hot dog, covered in onion and pickles. She likes mustard almost as much as Tom Jacobson, so the whole thing was pretty yellow as she ate it.
After the culinary experience, we were off to the next step–animals. We keep a few chickens around here, and I wanted to go see the small animal display. The bunny rabbits don’t much interest me, but there were a dozens of fascinating chickens on display, ranging from tiny bantys to a huge production chickens bigger than a small dog. We enjoyed looking at them all, and marveling at the variety.
Lastly, the expo hall. I love these places that sell weird things you can only buy at fairs and show. Waterless cookware, whatever that is. Knife sets. Knife sharpeners. Hospital-type beds for the home. Sham-wows. Fruit and vegetable juicers. It must be a strange life travelling the county fair circuit selling these things 15 hours a day for 2 weeks here, 2 weeks there then taking the winter off.
Of course, I had to find something to buy:
I like to cook; I can always use another kitchen gadget. So I bought a fancy stainless steel peeler, which I hope will do better than the somewhat worn and tired peeler I have now. Heck, the sales pitch was such a good show it was worth the cost.
This girl was just blowing off steam. Okay, it’s corny but that’s her line, not mine. I don’t iron, I don’t know if this is a good thing or not. I just like taking photos of pretty girls.
Then there were the Republicans. Socialism? Do you think they even know what they are opposed to?
After I stopped laughing at the stupidity of this sign, I whipped out the camera, and the woman turned and hid her face. Not that I blame her, I wouldn’t want my face associated with this ignorance, either.
Holding my sides from laughter, we headed out the gates for home. But first Gail had a taco. Then we passed the stand with the nachos, and she wanted those, too. Just nachos, no meat. But there’s no discount for no meat, so it set me back $9.75 for a plate of chips and guacamole. They were great nachos, at least the 3 chips Gail ate before she realized that this was a mistake of epic proportions and tossed the entire plate.
It was great. The Fair is on until the 10th of July, and I may well go back–but I doubt that I can get Gail to go with me. I think she’s afraid of the kangaroo burgers.