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Bring back transfat

Have you ever felt the ground rumble under your feet? A rocking of your basic family foundations? My e-mail for the last day or two has had seismic tremors rippling through it. My sister jokingly suggested that we alter, like in change, our recipe for Mama D’s Caramels. I’ll get back to the caramels in a minute.
OK. The Indiana State Fair has banned transfat in deep-frying those Snickers. I am a devoted supporter and eater of fair food. We even sell fair food once a year in the heat and dust of our historic county fair. Love those onion stacks and those apple dumplings with ice cream! I want the transfat and would be unhappy with anything less, um, transfatty.
If you ban a basic component of junk food, then it runs the risk of becoming too healthy and tasting lousy. As a very nice woman in the HoneyBaked Ham Store at Greentree Mall told me, ‘Fair food is my absolute favorite because you are limited to only eating it once a year!’ Moderation works, even if it is forced on you. Is it lethal if you only eat it once every 12 months? Your body can recover in that length of time.
It is not like I am going to become a ‘fair junkie’ and travel with the crew from week to week all around Indiana from July through September eating a bloomin’ onion every night. We put the cotton candy machine away in the barn loft after the fair. I don’t sit in the TV room in March and suggest, ‘How about a batch of cotton candy with our Final Four game tonight?’
Getting back to the caramels. Our family has made caramels ONLY AT CHRISTMAS for more than 60 years, if not longer. This recipe lists as its ingredients the following: 4 cups sugar, 4 half-pints heavy whipping cream, 1 quart whole milk and 1 small bottle Light Karo Syrup. Our great-grandmother, the Mama D for Dropsey, began the tradition, and we stir this over-the-top concoction in her honor every year.
My sister in Asheville, N.C., the ‘healthiest-minded’ town east of the Mississippi, thought the following ingredients might enable Mama D’s Caramels to be more politically correct: 1 to 2 pounds Splenda, 4 half-pints soy milk, 1 quart skim milk and 2 cups organic honey raised locally with no use of pesticides and/or gene altered pollen products. I think even the bees have to be liberal ‘ oops, excuse me ‘ I mean progressive Democrats. Keep in mind that a potluck in Asheville never sees the light of day on a piece of meat and will often have tofu meatloaf on the menu as a comfort food. Even in well-lit Ashevillian restaurants, it is hard to tell exactly what you are eating at times.
Anyway, I am worried about the consistency of these caramels with the changes in recipe. You have to stir for a total of three hours or so, getting from one softball stage to another. With the use of Splenda, I am thinking that the alchemical, even mystical if you will, process that occurs with the transformation of that wonderful substance called sugar would never happen, and you would never attain softball. Making candy is not just a throw-it-together-and-shove-it-in-the-oven-type action. Love and mystery go into candy making.
Are we actually willing to sell out the authenticity of our product just because you gain 20 to 30 pounds every January? How cheap we hold our family heritage. Mama D would be spinning in her grave. She would know that trading our mental and physical joy at eating verboten foods on rare occasions for the right to eat neutered down but allowable junk fairly often is not a good barter. You come out on the losing end of that corn-dog stick for sure.
Before I end this diatribe, I would just like to share one thought. Do health-food store employees always look more healthy? Ask yourself that question and then stew in your high fructose corn syrup juices about that one.

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