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All Things Fried
Fried chicken? Of course. French fries? You bet. Fried cheese curds, fried zucchini sticks, fried green beans? All are dandy bar food. But how about fried ice cream, fried butter, fried bubble gum, fried Twinkies, and fried beer? All those oddities are found at America’s anything-goes state fairs, which are showcases for the nation’s passionate love of deep-fried anything. The primary determinant of how good anything fried will taste is the oil in which it bubbles. Many fanciers of fried chicken and fried clams insist that it be at least half lard, which adds its own savory note to whatever boils in it. Perhaps the most important factor is the age of the oil. Once it has been used a few times, frying oil assumes unwanted flavors and may get rancid. On the other hand, Dyer’s Burgers of Memphis boasts that the oil in which it deep-fries hamburgers (yes, deep-fries) has not been changed since the restaurant opened in 1921. When Dyer’s moved to a new location on Beale Street several years ago, movers brought the old oil to the new kitchen. The management is proud of this fact, noting that the oil gets strained every evening, so it’s always getting renewed.