It's Time for the Big E-At

The Texas State Fair intrigued some and horrified others with an announcement last month that one of its many vendors would be selling deep fried butter.You might not find that kind of artery-clogging delight at the Big E in West Springfield, Mass. but there are certainly some items that will make your mouth water and possibly make you pop some antacid.

For years, the signature treat at the Big E has been the cream puff.

Since it debuted in 2002, the cream puff has been the stuff dessert lovers dream about. With its light pastry layers and its secret-recipe filling (whatever it's made of, it's good), one big bite and you'll be hooked.

Then there are the giant smoked turkey legs, fit for a medieval king's feast, that you'll see everyone carrying around the fairgrounds. As soon as you catch a glimpse, you'll find yourself desperately searching for the Pork Palace trailer, where they are served up by the dozens.

Those may be age-old favorites but each year, there's always more to sample. This year, Lordy's Elephant Ears joined the menu. And no, they're not actually the ears of an elephant, its a yeast-raised dough, which results in a texture more like a glazed donut. Top it off with cinnamon, butter, powdered sugar, spicy apple, chocolate, cherry or Bavarian cream -- OK, stop drooling.

If your kids don't like to eat their vegetables, send them over to Dr. Vegetable where they can experience Fried Green Beans encased in a flaky crust.

Down Home Rice Pudding offers a new take on an old favorite. Pudding parfait, cones, sundaes and custards are served in waffle cones and bowls. Also on the menu is Diabetic Delight Rice Pudding, no sugar or salt added and it's still delightfully sweet. Everything is made all-natural with no preservatives.

Of course, the Big E would not stand for the Eastern States Exposition if it didn't feature an avenue of all six New England states. That means that each state plaza serves up its native dish. There's even a wine festival every year, so you can mix some of the best New England vino from the area with fried dough.

As one person punned, they should call it the Big Eat. Check out what this guy slugged down in 2005, although not all in one visit.

So check your diet at the turnstile, we won't tell a soul. What you eat at the Big E, stays at the Big E, and on your waistline. The feasting begins Friday.

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