Paula’s County Fair

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By Paula Deen

As y’all may know, I just adore animals—especially the little ones. There’s nothing sweeter than watching a calf learn to stand on wobbly legs or a fuzzy duckling dawdle after its momma. But I hold a special place in my heart for piglets, and I’m not saying that just ‘cause I love bacon. They are the funniest little creatures. Like me, they get so excited. I get a kick out of their happy, high-pitched squeals. And let me tell you, those little buggers are smart and fast. You can cuddle up with them for a minute or two, but if they wiggle outta your arms, you can bet you’re gonna get a workout trying to catch ‘em again—a game my family seems to enjoy watching.

One of the best ways I know to get up close with adorable animals is to make a trip to the county fair with your family. It’s one of my favorite summertime activities. The local farmers show off their wares and the 4-H kids proudly parade their animals to a panel of judges, hoping to earn a ribbon. When I was growing up, I remember meeting the biggest hog I ever laid eyes on at a county fair. She must’ve weighed a ton. And was she a beauty! Her owner had scrubbed up her pink skin and buffed her hooves. You could tell from the way that sow was batting her long eyelashes that she knew she had it going on. She strutted her stuff for the judges and won “Best in Show.”

‘Course you can’t have a county fair without the food, and you know the kind I’m talking about—delicious Funnel Cakes dusted with powdered sugar and hand-cut curly fries covered in cheese. But as a little girl, my favorite was checking out all the wonderful pies and cakes that were waiting to be judged. Those homemade piecrusts were baked golden brown with a light egg wash that made them shine and it nearly killed me to see the fruit filling peeking through. I’d have given my right arm just for a taste, which is probably why Momma kept such a tight hold on me.

All this reminiscing got me thinking about creating some county-fair inspired recipes of my own. Many are new twists on old favorites, like my Outrageous Caramel Apples and Old Time Chocolate Fudge that are sure to win “Best in Show.” And there’s nothing better on a summer day than a tall glass of lemonade, but for a real thirst-quenching showstopper, you’ll want to try my Sparkling Sweet Cherry Lemonade.

The county fair, with all its furry friends and food, is a timeless, American tradition that I hope never goes away. It’s a refreshing taste of small-town fun that always leaves me with a bushel of memories, a full heart and an even fuller belly.

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Reader Comments:

54321

I love your little pet pig. Paula And i want paula deen.

By Donna mire eichhorn on April 27, 2013

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I love your pet pig. paula deen. love you to. Hay y all

By Donna marie eichhorn on April 27, 2013

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obviously, if she didnt mention flour in the ingredients or the steps, no flour is needed. I love these cookies! I made them for the second time tonight and they are awesome!

By anon on November 13, 2011

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I collect piggies no live ones yet smile I have hundreds of pigs, people go on vacations and always get me a pig so they are from all over the world. Love the picture.

By Beaner on November 01, 2011

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I absolutely LOVE the photo of you and the precious piglet. I noticed that she looks like you, Paula; with her mascara-like eyes and her sweet smile. Ya'll are a cute twosome!

By Lynn on September 20, 2011

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I don't understand people that say they love animals, are able to see how smart, sensible and social they are and, nevertheless, cut their head off and eat their body parts. It's just like saying "oh, I really love children" and then go around kicking little kids in the head. This article is the perfect example of how a really incoherent and fragmented mind works. Very interesting for people researching human psychology.

By Cesar Carvalho on August 19, 2011

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I am one of those folks who enjoy healthy foods rather than the comfort meals of miss deen.Much too much fat for my taste,indeed.

By notafan on July 22, 2011

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i wonder where you got your pretty smile, from your dad,

By dorothy on July 19, 2011

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Dear Paula, Some of your recipes are simple but amazing to make. thank you so much for this fantastic website where you share your wonderful recipes. love, smile

By Seema on July 12, 2011

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By Anonymous on July 11, 2011

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I live in Franklin, North Carolina in Macon County. We have our County Fair in September. We are one of the few County Fairs in this Country that still has an old fashioned County Fair. We do not have side shows, carnival rides or any of that. Our Fair is just a good old fashioned County Fair. It is dedicated to the farmers, 4-H and FFA kids. The animals, kids and adult exhibits, country and gospel music and of course the food. It is a pure delight to spend an evening just walking around to see what all these great country folks have been doing the past year. Every year I enter some of my canned goods in the Fair. I am proud to say that a couple of years ago I won the Grand Champion Ribbon in the food preservation section. I won it with my Zucchine Relish entry. It was so much fun. I hope you can go to a good old fashioned County Fair someday. You will have the time of your life. Try Macon County, Franklin, North Carolina. It isn't too far from Savannah so try it you'll like it. See ya'll at the Fair!! Anna Parham

By Anna Parham on July 11, 2011

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Paula I think you are one of the sweetest person I have heard of.I have always wanted to come to Shavana and visit,and hope to meet you. If I had one wish that's what it would be.

By wanda medders on July 08, 2011

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This picture is great. You look very happy with this cute little pig. Love ya!

By Elisa Alfonso on July 07, 2011

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I just love your cooking!!! For me you are my #1 cooking inspiration! Just bought your robins nest pan set and love it!!! Can't wait to get back to your restraunt in savanah! Next to my family and my son it was truly the highlight of my life! Keep doing what your doing! May God bless you and your family!!! smile Virginia

By Virginia Allen on July 06, 2011

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PAULA I WOULD LOVE TO MEET YOU, EVERYWHERE I GO I HEAR " DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU MAKE ME THINK OF" I HAVE MORE FUN OUT OF THAT, WE WERE ON OUR WAY TO OKEECHOBEE A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO WE STAY HALF WAY IN BYRON,GA. SO WE GOT UP AND WHILE MY HUSBAND WAS BRINGING TRUCK AROUND THIS COUPLE WAS ALSO GOING TO LEAVE AND I WAS WALKING TO THE OFFICE AND THIS OLDER LADY WAS ALSO BEFORE SHE GOT TO THE OFFICE DOOR SHE JUST STOPED,I LOOKED AT HER AND SHE SAID YOU KNOW WHO YOU LOOK LIKE , AND I SAID " LADY I AM NOT PAULA DEEN" SHE SAID WELL YOU SURE LOOK LIKE HER,, LOVE WATCHING YOUR SHOWES ,LOVE YA JUANITA

By JUANITA GRAHAM on July 06, 2011

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I watched the food network star, saw Paula comment on the lady that cooked collards. I must say it offended me that Paula would say 'she was embarressed for the cook" well Paula , i think 99% of southern cooks can cook collards. Has your 'star'ship flown so high that you have lost sight of the million southern cooks who follow their moms and grandmothers tradition's? There are many of us who have been cooking since we were 3 years old and are very good at it. At age 55 I am not so snoby to think i can't learn something new. But I'm still waiting for a recipe i haven't tried or modified my self. And that is the joy of cooking folks!

By susan bryan on July 06, 2011

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A beautiful picture of you, as always & a most adorable piglet; she is darling. We share the same love for animals. As far back as Egypt, I remember having a zoo which included a donkey and monkey. We also share a very close birthday; mine is January 15th & are only a couple of years apart. When I heard that, I knew why I related to you so very well, including some of your past health issues which I suffer from still but I try to keep positive & nothing makes me happier than hearing you laugh, watch you with your family and 4-legged children:)You are amazing!! Hugs, Christina

By Christina A May-Gonzales on July 06, 2011

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I love this woomen. Paula is the best woomen of the woorld. She is able, she is sweet , she is nice woomen. Before I watch her show at FOOD CHANNEL. It was my favorite moment for mee. Unfortunately she is'nt exist at this Channel....................It's a shame............. By AICHA ANJOU MONTREAL. On July 6 2011

By AICHA on July 06, 2011

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I THINK PAULA IS THE SWEETEST AND THE BEST MOTHER AND GRANDMA, I LOVE TO WATCH HER SHOWS WITH HER SONS. I WANT TO GO TO SAVANNAH SO BAD FOR A WEEKEND BUT I WANT OT VISIT HER RESTAURANT BUT WOULD LOVE IF PAULA WAS IN TOWN.

By JOANNE MACRI on July 05, 2011

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm