I didn't have my usual stint this year volunteering at the Cattaraugus County Fair. So I can't report on the delights it might have provided. I hope Smokey Joe's Pulled Pork Barbecue was still there. These American county fairs have a sweet familiarity - Western New York meets The Archers (for the benefit of my American friends, a legendary and long-running radio soap about life in an English village). There are the pony classes
(though I wish someone would explain to me why they wear those garters under their knees), the flower and produce, farm animals, arts and crafts, the works, with the addition of some exotica like demolition derbies and Swifty Swine the Racing Pigs and all swathed in the nostalgic scents of new mown grass and a hundred different kinds of deep fried food.
Erie County Fair, held in Hamburg, about an hour to the north of us (see, Americans don't need to travel far to go abroad) is the biggest such event in these parts and for some real insights into American Fair fare (now, apparently, the Latest Big Thing among Foodies) I defer to my friend Mary Kunz Goldman of the Buffalo News. For those with a sense of adventure, she suggests this foodie photo gallery which, if nothing else, will tell you that, despite deceptive similarities with Blighty, we really are in America. And you thought deep-fried Mars bars were outrageous. They are cuisine minceur exemplified compared to this. Chocolate-covered bacon is, arguably, the healthiest option. That or deep fried avocado. Incidentally, the vast crowds attending Erie County Fair also included several presidential contenders sporting pinnies and showing off their prowess at barbecuing pork chops. (Sorry, Swifty Swine). They know their public.