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25 Deep-Fried Foods From the Texas State Fair

For years, county fairs have been at the forefront of deep-frying science, splicing and creating mutant “foods” that are all at once monstrous and wondrous. The Texas State Fair — the largest state fair in the country — holds a yearly competition for the most innovative deep-fried foods. Here are 25 fried Frankenfoods from fairs past:

1. Bubblegum

Photo: CC Collin Harvey on Flickr

It's actually bubblegum-flavored marshmallows, battered and deep fried and sprinkled with Chicklets. Do you chew this? Eat it? Who knows, but you can buy it.

2. Butter

Photo: CC mgerskup on Flickr

Frozen balls of butter, battered and fried and served with four sauces. Because why not.

3. Beer

Photo: CC Stacy Huggins on Flickr

Nope, this isn’t beer battered. This is beer: battered and fried. The beer is poured into little ravioli pockets which burst with scalding suds upon first bite.

4. Peanut Butter Banana Cheeseburgers

Photo: FoodBeast

Elvis would probably make a special trip to Texas just to see this.

5. Coke

Photo: CC L. Richarz on Flickr

An enterprising chef found a way to deep fry soda without the 3rd degree burns.

6. Chicken Fried Bacon

Photo: CC ladybugbkt on Flickr

This is self-explanatory. And probably delicious.

7. Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

Photo: CC RosieTulips on Flickr

It's really just batter with some Jelly Belly jelly beans mixed in, like a fritter on a sugar high.

8. Cadbury Crème Eggs

Photo: CC goodiesfirst on Flickr

Easter doesn’t have nearly enough fried foods... until now.

9. Pizza

Photo: CC Siggi Churchill on Flickr

It's not just pizza ingredients inside a ball of dough. No. It's an actual slice of pizza, breaded and fried.

10. Kool-Aid

Photo: CC nineminutes on Flickr

With an extra sprinkle of Kool-Aid powder over the top instead of powdered sugar.

11. French Fry Coated Hot Dog

Photo: CC phil.lees on Flickr

See? It exists.

12. Pecan Pie

Photo: CC erichcpeters on Flickr

There's probably not a more delicious way to gain five pounds.

13. Lattes

Photo: CC Traveling Fools of America on Flickr

This one is a bit of a misnomer, it seems; the fried part is a sweet dough, which is topped with coffee-flavored ice cream, whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

14. PB&J

Photo: CC bittermelon on Flickr

With a banana thrown in for good measure.

15. Salsa

Photo: thestir.com

Deep-fried condiments can't be a good thing, but according to some people, this is the best-tasting item at the fair. It's salsa mixed with masa, then rolled in crushed tortilla chips before frying.

16. Pop Tarts

Photo: CC RosieTulips on Flickr

It's hard to see, but there's a Pop Tart in there.

17. Margaritas

Photo: CC David Berkowitz on Flickr

Funnel cake batter made with margarita mixer, fried and soaked in more margarita, all served in a salt-rimmed glass.

18. Club Salad

Photo: New York Daily News

The thing about salad is that it’s good for you, usually. Not this time. This is a spinach wrap filled with ham, bacon, cheese, chicken, tomatoes, shredded lettuce and carrots, fried and served on a bed of lettuce.

19. S'mores

Photo: CC David Berkowitz on Flickr

It was only a matter of time.

20. Pumpkin Pie

Photo: CC Collin Harvey on Flickr

It's a pocket filled with pumpkin pie, rolled in cinnamon and ginger snaps, fried and served with whipped cream.

21. Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Photo: CC Blazenhoff on Flickr

Each item is battered and fried individually, skewered and served with whipped cream and a cherry. The "upside-down" part is up to you.

22. Deep Fried Cheesecake

Photo: CC Stacey Huggins on Flickr

Cheesecake filling wrapped in a tortilla, fried.

23. Oreos

Photo: CC Jenn Larsen on Flickr

These are amazing, actually.

And this year's winners, announced this week:

24. Fried Jambalaya: Best Taste

Photo: David Woo for The Dallas Morning News

25. Fried Bacon Cinnamon Roll: Most Creative

Photo: David Woo for The Dallas Morning News

Follow Cole on Twitter: @ColeGamble

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Food
11 Things You Might Not Have Known About Garlic
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National Garlic Day may be a holiday best celebrated alone—or with a hefty box of breath mints and a very charitable loved one—but few foods are as deserving of their very own day of recognition as the amazing, edible bulbous plant (okay, “bulbous plant” might not sound super appetizing, but it’s certainly accurate). Celebrate National Garlic Day on April 19 with your favorite garlic-laced meal and a few fun facts about this delicious, flavor-packed add-in that can do almost anything, from reducing your cholesterol to keeping vampires at bay.

1. YOU CAN EAT MORE THAN JUST THE STANDARD GARLIC CLOVE.

When you think “garlic,” you inevitably picture garlic cloves, but despite the ubiquity of that particular image of the plant, it’s not the only part you can eat. Hard-neck varieties of garlic produce “scapes,” green shoots that can be especially delicious and tender when they’re young. Think of them as garlic-flavored scallions. They also make a wonderful addition to pestos, soups, and butters.

2. CHINA PRODUCES THE MOST GARLIC.

Garlic is native to central Asia and has long popped up in European and African cooking, too. But it's China that currently holds the record for most garlic grown. Per a 2012 study, China grows a staggering two-thirds of the world’s garlic, believed to be around 46 billion pounds per year.

3. AVERAGE CONSUMPTION OF GARLIC IS BELIEVED TO WEIGH IN AT AROUND TWO POUNDS PER PERSON.

Even with just two pounds, that means eating roughly 302 cloves per person per year, as each clove typically weighs about three grams.

4. GARLIC'S HEALTH BENEFITS ARE MYRIAD, INCLUDING AN ABILITY TO REDUCE CHOLESTEROL.

The best way to release the health-happy power of garlic is to cut it, which then turns garlic’s thio-sulfinite compounds into allicin, an antibiotic and antifungal that is believed to reduce “bad” cholesterol, as it inhibits enzymes from growing in liver cells.

5. ALLICIN IS ALSO GOOD AT COMBATING HEART DISEASE.

Allicin helps nitric oxide release in the blood vessels, relaxing them and thus bringing about a drop in blood pressure. Keeping blood vessels relaxed and lowering blood pressure is good for the heart and the rest of the vascular system (and it’s tasty).

6. GARLIC CONTAINS TONS OF VITAMINS, MINERALS, AND ANTIOXIDANTS THAT ARE GOOD FOR YOU, TOO.

The bulbs are packed with potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, selenium, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and Vitamin C.

7. GARLIC'S USE AS A HEALTH AID DATES BACK TO ANCIENT HISTORY.

It’s believed that Egyptian pharaohs plied their pyramid-builders with garlic for strength, and an ancient Egyptian medical document—the Ebers Papyrus—counts a stunning 22 different medicinal uses for the plant. Garlic also pops up in texts from Virgil, Pliny the Elder, Chaucer, and Galen, all of which detail its various uses and share lore about the magic plant.

8. DESPITE ITS ASIAN ORIGINS, ITS NAME IS DERIVED FROM ANGLO-SAXON SPEECH.

A combination of two Anglo-Saxon words—“gar” (spear) and “lac” (plant)—is believed to be the source of the plant’s name, specifically in reference to the shape of its leaves.

9. GARLIC'S REAL HEALTH BENEFITS ARE PROBABLY THE REASON FOR ONE OF ITS MOST PREVALENT MYTHS.

Garlic had long been recognized as a wonderful health aid before writer Bram Stoker introduced the concept of the vampire—a beast repelled by garlic—to the public with his 1897 novel Dracula. In the book, Van Helsing uses garlic as a protective agent, and it’s believed that Stoker lifted that idea from garlic’s many medicinal purposes, particularly as a mosquito repellent (think of the blood-sucking).

10. YOU CAN USE GARLIC TO MAKE GLUE.

The sticky juice that’s in garlic cloves is often used as an adhesive, especially for delicate projects that involve fragile items like glass. You just need to crush the cloves to get to the sticky stuff which, despite its smell, works surprisingly well as a bonding agent for smaller jobs.

11. GARLIC CAN CLEAR UP SKIN TROUBLES.

You can battle both acne and cold sores with garlic, simply by slicing cloves in half and applying them directly to the skin. Hold for a bit—as long as you can stand!—and while the smell might not be the best, the antibacterial properties of the miracle plant will speed along the healing process.

All images courtesy of iStock.

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Big Questions
Why Is a Pineapple Called a Pineapple?
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by James Hunt

Ask an English-speaking person whether they've heard of a pineapple, and you'll probably receive little more than a puzzled look. Surely, every schoolchild has heard of this distinctive tropical fruit—if not in its capacity as produce, then as a dessert ring, or smoothie ingredient, or essential component of a Hawaiian pizza.

But ask an English-speaking person if they've ever heard of the ananas fruit and you'll probably get similarly puzzled looks, but for the opposite reason. The average English speaker has no clue what an ananas is—even though it's the name given to the pineapple in almost every other major global language.

In Arabic, German, French, Dutch, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Swedish, Turkish—even in Latin and Esperanto—the pineapple is known as an ananas, give or take local variations in the alphabet and accents. In the languages where it isn't, it's often because the word has been imported from English, such as in the case of the Japanese パイナップル (painappuru) and the Welsh pinafel.

So how is it that English managed to pick the wrong side in this fight so spectacularly? Would not a pineapple, by any other name, taste as weird and tingly?

To figure out where things went wrong for English as a language, we have to go back and look at how Europeans first encountered the fruit in question, which is native to South America. It was first catalogued by Columbus's expedition to Guadeloupe in 1493, and they called it piña de Indes, meaning "pine of the Indians"—not because the plant resembled a pine tree (it doesn't) but because they thought the fruit looked like a pine cone (umm, ... it still doesn't. But you can sort of see it.)

Columbus was on a Spanish mission and, dutifully, the Spanish still use the shortened form piñas to describe the fruit. But almost every other European language (including Portuguese, Columbus's native tongue) decided to stick with the name given to the fruit by the indigenous Tupí people of South America: ananas, which means "excellent fruit."

According to etymological sources, the English word pineapple was first applied to the fruit in 1664, but that didn't end the great pineapple versus ananas debate. Even as late as the 19th century, there are examples of both forms in concurrent use within the English language; for example, in the title of Thomas Baldwin's Short Practical Directions For The Culture Of The Ananas; Or Pine Apple Plant, which was published in 1813.

So given that we knew what both words meant, why didn't English speakers just let go of this illogical and unhelpful linguistic distinction? The ultimate reason may be: We just think our own language is better than everyone else's.

You see, pineapple was already an English word before it was applied to the fruit. First used in 1398, it was originally used to describe what we now call pine cones. Hilariously, the term pine cones wasn't recorded until 1694, suggesting that the application of pineapple to the ananas fruit probably meant that people had to find an alternative to avoid confusion. And while ananas hung around on the periphery of the language for a time, when given a choice between using a local word and a foreign, imported one, the English went with the former so often that the latter essentially died out.

Of course, it's not too late to change our minds. If you want to ask for ananas the next time you order a pizza, give it a try (though we can't say what you'd up with as a result).

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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