Commentary: My vegetarian diet vs. South Florida Fair food… who won?


I’ve been a vegetarian since birth and that typically means I eat pretty healthy.

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I won’t indulge in the occasional greasy slice of pizza, but I cook many of my own meals and put kale and other healthy vegetables in everything I eat.

So what better place to have the ultimate day of pushing the limits of my will than opening day of the South Florida Fair, which I covered last week.

Many who attend the fair are there for the food above everything else.

I wasn’t about to try meat for the first time — that eliminated the doughnut burgers and turkey legs — but there were still plenty of fried foods and desserts to whet my appetite.

By the time I arrived, the delicious smells of oil and grease were already wafting over the whole fairgrounds.

I immediately stumbled upon a burrito joint, which is basically my kryptonite. Anyone who has met me likely knows that I would happily eat a burrito for every meal (if only it wouldn’t make me fat).

I snagged a veggie burrito, found a nearby bench and chowed down right away. Don’t get me wrong, it was good and all, but I felt like it didn’t completely leave me satisfied.

I quickly found a stand that was serving slices of pizza that just came out of the oven. A little cheese and grease was the perfect way to supplement my first meal of the day. I gobbled up the pizza and kept walking.

At this point, my stomach wasn’t feeling so great and I still hadn’t eaten anything fried. I took a lap all the way around the fair to get in a little mild exercise and worked my way back to the food area.

I passed by several stands that were serving fried vegetables and paused for a second. Fried vegetables are tasty, but I figured that would be too stereotypical.

Of course the vegetarian is going to get fried vegetables. I’m sure you were predicting that from the start of this.

Nope, I decided. Not good enough.

Fried cheese? That’s more like it! Cheese and sour cream are basically the only two reasons that I’m not a vegan but those are two big reasons.

I love cheese and getting some fried mozzarella at the fair seemed like the perfect way to end off my lunch.

I plunked down another $8 and was handed four hot, crispy mozzarella sticks. I didn’t wait for them to cool down. I just dived right in.

They were everything I dreamed of, but now my stomach was in decline. I had to at least take a break before I got anything else.

After an interview with Fair Director Rick Vymlatil and talking to people who ran an old -Western photo booth for a story.

At this point, I had to make a decision — call it a day and leave or cap off my eating extravaganza with some kind of dessert.

I passed by a stand that serving fried candy bars, and my decision was made for me. I’m not the biggest fan of sweets, but I adore Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.

It’s not every day that I can eat them straight out of the deep fryer topped with powdered sugar … so I went for it. They were a little too sweet for me but obviously delicious.

All in all, I spent $26 and had nothing to show for it other than a satisfied, albeit slightly queasy, stomach.

Totally worth it.



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