Bring On The Deep-Fried Oreos, Indiana State Fair Goes Trans-Fat Free

The Great Indiana State Fair has decided to go trans-fat free in the interest of producing healthier deep fried Oreos, deep fried Snickers bars and deep fried Pepsi. No, really.

The change is only the latest in a string of bans on artificial trans fats. Tied to health problems including heart disease, they have been banished by national restaurant chains, snack brands and New York City, which forbids restaurants to use them in food preparation.

But this is perhaps the most unlikely locale yet: the nation’s classic summer fair, long seen as one final safe haven from the health police.

Along the steamy thoroughfare here, where only sensitive palates can distinguish among the various cuts of potato (curly fries, ribbon fries and the old standby, French), fairgoers seemed pleased with the switch. The food tasted the same, they said happily. And if this meant they could indulge without guilt or have one more helping, so much the better.

“This is a slice of heaven,” said Ryan Howell, 31, as he cradled his Combo Plate, which, for the record, consists of one battered Snickers bar, two battered Oreos and a battered Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup — all deep-fried in oil that is trans-fat free, thank goodness.

“This was an issue we wanted to tackle,” said Cindy Hoye, executive director of the fair, which spent the winter months testing various oils and, despite the fears of some concessionaires about possible changes to taste or costs or tradition, concluded that trans-fat-free oils created what Ms. Hoye called a better product.

You know, if you’re going to take part in the great Midwestern tradition of walking around in the heat while eating, you might as well walk around while eating less trans-fat.

Yes, Deep-Fried Oreos, but Not in Trans Fats [NYT]
(Photo:Darron Cummings/AP)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Fried Pepsi!?! How the *bleep* do you fry soda?

    It seems like once you’ve reached that point that removing the transfats wouldn’t help that much.

  2. skittlbrau says:

    The Indiana State Fair is super gross – I went one year and have never seen so many fried… items.

    And you fry soda by mixing it in the batter. They’re like wee donut holes.

  3. Lin-Z [linguist on duty] says:

    Yeah, once you’re frying oreos, you’ve already lost.

  4. Meg Marco says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: I think, in this case, it’s deep fried pop.

  5. Murph1908 says:

    Righto, Megan.

    In case you non-midwesterners didn’t get it, there is no ‘soda’ in Indiana. It’s ‘pop’.

  6. Trai_Dep says:

    …Yet last year, Wal-Mart was shocked to discover that the low-rise Junior sizes of their jeans didn’t fly off the mid-western shelves. Who knew? Who knew?!!

  7. TWinter says:

    Deep fried oreos are fantastic!!!!!

    The cookie sort of disolves inside a ball of batter, so it’s just sweet chocolate gooyness inside.

    Deep fried is the only way you’ll get me to touch an oreo. :-)

  8. welsey says:

    The Indiana State Fair is fantastic. Their corn dogs are pretty much corn dog perfection, I used to love them so much I made my parents buy frozen ones in the off-season (but they were never the same). I spent much of my childhood there looking at cows and eating fried food. I sound like a disgusting child.

    And we don’t say pop in Indiana because I remember it being a shock to my parents when we moved to Minnesota and they called it that…I don’t remember what we called it though cause I’m too far removed at this point.

  9. SecureLocation says:

    Thing is, I’ve had the deep-fried Oreos and trans fat or no, they taste like greasy shit.

  10. @meghannmarco, @Murph1908: Oh yeah, it’s supposed to be pop in New York too, right?

    @trai_dep: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
    Seriously, Wal-mart’s insistence on ignoring the local culture and customs ended up being an article in the Times, didn’t it? Someone had an article talking about how they insist on making the shelving too high in countries where the people are shorter and stuff like that.

  11. Ola says:

    @traidep: Please stop making me laugh at work!

  12. TWinter says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: You’re not kidding. Wal*Mart’s huge flop in Germany is supposedly a textbook case of entering a market knowing absolutely nothing about its consumers and their tastes.

  13. howie_in_az says:

    Requesting picture of “Ryan Howell”.

  14. phrygian says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: A few years ago when Fried Coke showed up at the Texas state fair, our local TV stations all had “news” articles on it. It seems that the Coke is added to batter in lieu of water and then fried up in blobs. Then a cola syrup was poured over the resulting fried Coke-blobs.

  15. Falconfire says:

    got to say as gross as they sound, Fried Oreos where in fact fantastic. I only had them once cause I could tell I would become addicted to them if I was not careful, but yes they where fantastic.

  16. realjen01 says:

    but don’t oreos themselves contain trans fat?

  17. hwyengr says: for all of your regional soft drink naming statistics. It appears that much that Northern IN goes for the Chicago “Pop” and the south of the state goes for the Southern “Coke”.

  18. Snakeophelia says:

    Plain Oreos make me thirsty, and the fried one that I tried at the Renn Faire made me totally dehydrated! It was really good, but not worth how much water I felt I had to gulp down afterwards.

  19. bbbici says:

    btw, it’s all POP across canada. no one refers to it as SODA up here.

    Hence the dreaded pop-n-chip party, which is an adult party full of teetotallers and wallflowers, where everyone is sitting with their shoes off and probably watching tv.

    Yup, we canucks love our orange pop and ketchup chips.

  20. JayXJ says:


    And here I thought everything was a Coke…

  21. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @hwyengr: That’s just insane, a zoomable java map!!
    And nothing will ever beat deep fried Macaroni & Cheese!!

  22. morganlh85 says:

    @TWinter: You’re right, they ARE delicious. But don’t eat more than one or you can feel your heart slowing down.

  23. Amelie says:

    1. How often does one eat a deep-fried Oreo?

    2. If you are eating deep-fried Oreos, aren’t there other equally pressing health concerns with the product and do you even care?

    3. Does making a deep-fried product, trans-fat free, encourage people to eat them with abandon, because they’re perceived as not being “bad” any more?

    This “No Trans-Fats” in fast food legislation is beyond retarded in my opinion. If you are eating fast food, you’re eating garbage. The answer is to not eat fast food, not to make it “less bad.” Also, if I decide to treat myself to mini-donuts or McDonald french fries, I want them fried in the fat that tastes best – which is often a trans fat.

  24. CeilingCat says:

    @ZOUXOU: I would take issue with trans fat being better tasting than saturated animal fat — real Belgian pomme frites are cooked in horse fat or beef tallow. Blows away anything cooked in hydrogenated oil.

    Hydrogenated oils (ie transfats) don’t really taste any different than non-hydrogenated — the hydrogenation is done to make them a spreadable product at room temperature or so they wont go rancid quickly.

  25. TangDrinker says:

    My DH is from Indy (Lawrence) and his family calls it pop, and they put it in a sack. We both went to IU, and I never heard anyone call soda “coke” ala how they say it should be said in the south. I now live in the South, and they call it a soft drink.

    I digress, though. In Indy, they serve RANCH dressing as the standard condiment for french fries. They put Ranch on everything.

    The NC state fair puts the Indy fair to shame, but the Indy fairground’s claim to fame is that it’s one of the last places Elvis performed. Their minor league hockey team has not one, but 3 Elvis impersonators. Oh, Indiana, You are so strange! But thanks for being trans fat free!

  26. Namrepus says:

    to teh guy that asked how you “fry pepsi”


    That’s the original

  27. spinachdip says:

    @zouxou: “If you are eating fast food, you’re eating garbage.”

    The thing is, it doesn’t have to be. By modifying ingredients and portion sizes, it’s entirely possible to make fast food that’s not bad for you, if not completely healthy either, and it would only cost cents on the dollar for consumers.

    Sure, it would take a major sea change in the food services industry, but that’s in great parts because of defeatist attitudes of people like you who assume nutrition and taste can’t go together with convenience and cost effectieness.

  28. sunwukong says:

    The 2 week fair around here (the PNE) just started and announced their friend snacks (esp mini donuts) were going trans-fat. Much rejoicing.

    Then they announced how much mix they go through in those 17 days: 12 tonnes.

    It’s beyond mind-boggling.

  29. sunwukong says:

    @sunwukong: Bah — s/b “fried” and “trans-fat free“.

  30. Helvetian says:

    In the Northeastern US, it’s soda. And that is just crazy, fried pop and candies. Doesn’t sound appetizing.

  31. muckpond says:

    what i don’t understand is why this article was published 2 days AFTER the fair ended. they’ve been publicizing this trans-fat thing for months.

    i avoided the pepsi, but the “official” fair food this year was corn fritters and those kicked ass.

  32. RandomHookup says:


    Let’s not forget the unkillable ‘tonic’ in New England. There’s one old Starmarket near me that still has signs on the aisle for “Tonic” and “Diet Tonic”.

  33. anatak says:

    @phrygian: This from a state that regularly deep frys pickles

  34. superqueen23 says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: It’s pop in Western NY. Most of the rest of the state call is soda.

    I just wonder how many years it will be before we find out how harmful some of the stuff they are using to replace trans-fat may be.

  35. IndyJaws says:


    Exactly right. Here in Indianapolis, it’s only known as “coke,” regardless of the brand. All my friends from Northern Indiana refer to it as “pop.”

  36. IndyJaws says:


    Actually, Elvis’ last performance was in downtown Indianapolis at Market Square Arena on June 26, 1977. (No I didn’t know the date off the top of my head (thanks Google), but did remember it was his last concert location. They had a small memorial area in MSA commemorating the “occasion.” Of course, it went away when MSA went boom a few years ago…

    I also went to IU and remember that most people referred to soda as “coke,” except for those who were from the Region (NW Indiana) or Chicago – which was a lot of students.

  37. kimsama says:

    @zouxou: Wrong, trans fats don’t taste better than real fats. Have you ever eaten butter? Then tasted Crisco? Yeah. tah-dah! The whole fast food industry saying “oh, don’t take away trans fats because it will be hard to find a tasty substitute,” was code for “oh, don’t take away trans fats because it will be hard to find a cheap substitute.” People evolved to have many taste receptors for real fats, and we pretty much are geared to like them. Not so much with the artificial fats.

    @CeilingCat: Right on! Yum, lard.

    I am so tired of hearing the arguments for trans fats, and I am glad that those arguments are going away as people realize that they were just propaganda Big Ag used to make us swallow trans fats (metaphorically and literally).

  38. welsey says:

    @IndyJaws: Coke! That’s what my family called everything, also from Indianapolis.

  39. IC18 says:

    This is why I never stop in Indiana.

  40. 2Legit2Quit says:

    In Jersey, it’s just soda or the usual Coke. Though in South Jersey, it’s not subs or gyros, its hoagies.

    We have Wildwood and Seaside, which are basically the summer-long equivalent of the Indy fair and the fried Oreos are ungodly delicious.

  41. spinachdip says:

    @kimsama: Seriously. There’s a reason your local grocer takes imported pig fat, calls it “lardo” and charge a premium – because the shit tastes good!

    People trying to defend the use of trans fat reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Bart gets the whole class to chant “More asbestos! More asbestos!” It’s easier to argue for something when you don’t know what you’re talking about, apparently.

  42. spinachdip says:

    @welsey: I love the conversations I’d have in the South sometimes.

    Friend: “You want some Coke?”
    Me: “Sure, thanks.”
    Friend: “What kind? I got Pepsi, Sprite, Dr. Pepper…”

  43. kimsama says:

    @spinachdip: OMG, forgot about that Simpons episode — brilliant!

  44. Trai_Dep says:

    So if you guys call it “soda” and “pop”, what do you call cocaine? :D

  45. royal72 says:

    “This is a slice of heaven, said Ryan Howell, 31, as he cradled his Combo Plate, which, for the record, consists of one battered Snickers bar, two battered Oreos and a battered Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup — all deep-fried in oil that is trans-fat free, thank goodness.”

    dear america, wtf is wrong with you?! sure, get rid of the “bad” fat, but you’re still gonna eat the same shit and be just as fat as you were before, maybe you’ll shave two points off your cholesterol. it’s unbe-fucking-lievable. hey i know, why don’t we put vitamins in the oil while were at it. that way our kids can get “healthy” fries from mcdonald’s.

  46. infinitysnake says:

    Shh! Don’t give them any ideas…

  47. Elvisisdead says:

    @welsey: That’s because the “State Fair Corn Dogs” you buy in the freezer section are made by the people who sell (and invented) them at the Texas State Fair. That’s right – corn dogs were invented in Texas.