It’s Iowa State Fair time and a few months before the Iowa caucus, which means the national media can only talk about one thing: fried Twinkies. “About the only thing they don’t deep fry and sell on a stick at the Iowa State Fair is the politicians,” according to the Dallas Morning News. Politico columnist Roger Simon piled on: “I know what you are asking: Deep-fried Twinkies? ... Is there anything in Iowa they won’t deep fry? Not really.”
Ah, the rigors of regional mockery. It pains us to point out to Simon that the fried Twinkie, although useful as shorthand for the supposed obesity of the heartland, is native to nowhere near Iowa. It’s from, uh, Brooklyn. That’s where the chef at an otherwise respectable fish-and-chips restaurant started deep-frying everything in sight a half-decade ago. The fried Twinkie was weirdly good (it had “a souffle-like quality,” said the chef) and the concept was irresistible: Someone took a Twinkie and made it less healthy. A few months later, a pair of brothers, the Johnny Appleseeds of fried Twinkies, had already traveled the country selling the preservative-laden snacks at fairs. Thus, Iowa.
All that said, let’s not mislead anyone: This state’s no innocent.