In her biweekly column, A Shared Tradition, CIA grad and amateur food historian Molly Siegler cruises around the world (and into the depths of her pantry) to explore the versatility of a single food item.
This week: Molly salutes state fair season with four fried batters and doughs.
Hanukkah Churros (photo by Sarah Shatz)
It’s state fair season in the U.S. and aside from butter cows and prizewinning needlework, food is the main attraction; deep-fried foods in particular. The scent and crunch of coiled funnel cake and mini doughnuts weave through my childhood memories in an embarrassingly potent way. We won’t mention the time blue cotton candy became a permanent fixture in my bowl cut.
Admittedly, these international fritters are deep fried, but with the addition of interesting flours and even a few fruits and vegetables, I like to think of them as luxuries that won’t break the bank.
An easy, irresistible street snack, accara are bite-sized black-eyed pea poppers.
Beignets are New Orleans staples that manifest themselves in both sweet and savory variations.
Mandazi are an East African specialty served for breakfast and dinner alike.
Perfect as a starter, pakoras welcome lots of vegetal additions.
These are just a few of the ways I like to travel by way of doughnuts and fritters. What other regionally inspired flavors would you use to make these fried batters and doughs your own? Share your ideas in the comments section below.
Do you love a good food theme as much as I do? Tell me what food items or themes you'd like to see featured in this column and your idea could be the subject of an upcoming post!
Like this post? See Molly's previous topic: Potato Salad.
Molly is a chef and food educator living and cooking in northern Wisconsin. When she's not dreaming up themed menus, she's dishing out other delicious content as the editorial assistant for the Whole Foods Market Cooking program.