It’s been years since I’ve enjoyed the guilty pleasure of walking down the midway at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh. It is a stroll with sound effects. The deep engine whine from the tractor-pull. The shrieks each time the “Surf’s Up!” ride hits the stomach-churning crest. The howls as the free-fall ride hits terminal velocity.
My dad and I were searching for something much more dangerous, though, than a death-defying ride. We wanted to find the ultimate in artery-clogging cholesterol.
The signs were tantalizing: Sausage Dogs. Hot Roasted Corn-on-the Cob. Turkey Drumsticks. Cotton Candy. Candied Apples. Popcorn. Hot Wisconsin Cheese. Jamaican Oxtail. Funnel Cakes.
But we were in it for the hard-core. A mere sausage dog wouldn’t cut it. A candy apple? Way too healthy.
We thought we found it in a corner of the Governor Kerr Scott Pavilion. Next to a sign for Deep-Fried Twinkies, a banner proclaimed what only a hard-core junk foodie could crave: Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheeseburger.
Carey Jones, 22, of Elizabeth City ordered one as his girlfriend grimaced. He confessed he had succumbed to a dare.
“Tastes pretty good,” Jones proclaimed, sugar icing coating the corner of his mouth. “I kinda like the bacon and the doughnut together.”
His girlfriend rolled her eyes.
Next up to the counter was Cathy Greenlaw, 43, of Winston-Salem. Winston-Salem is where Krispy Kremes got its start and where warm Krispy Kreme doughnuts are given the reverence they deserve.
Looking around to see who was watching, Greenlaw changed her order from a Deep-Fried Twinkie to the Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheeseburger.
Such a burger, she admitted later, “wouldn’t be allowed in polite company” back home.
It was now my turn to order. I decided to try one. My dad had more sense.
The tray was pushed across the counter. The burger sizzled. The doughnut was cool, but fresh and light.
Jones was right about the combination of the bacon and doughnut, but I wasn’t sure about the hamburger-and-doughnut combo. The cheese stuck the roof of my mouth. I started calculating calories and cholesterol, but I couldn’t add numbers that big in my head.
Two bites later, I’d had enough. Not wanting to offend the servers behind the counter, I looked around for a trash can. I spied one over near the exhibit for North Carolina Milk. I discretely dumped the burger and ponied up a dollar for a carton of cold 2 percent.
Cold, fresh milk to wash down a doughnut. That’s more like it.
We wandered off to find the N.C. State University Dairy ice cream booth. Cups of mint chip and chocolate were calling.