Sunday, July 26, 2009

Reason #345 Why I Now Love Summer

I’ve always been ambivalent about the summer. After all, being a PhatKid does have its negative consequences, unless you’re one with an overactive metabolism. This PhatKid unfortunately cannot wear the itty bitty clothes that seem to be so ubiquitous in times of warmer weather. Well, except for that year or two when I was a glorious size 4 and ate like a rabbit.

But don’t feel for me. I’ve come to terms with the realization that I simply enjoy food too much and am too busy to hit the gym (I’m working on that one). And since having BabyPhat I can always say I’m still working off the baby fat, although, with him turning 2 in two months, I think the statute of limitations on that is quickly nearing expiration.

Anyway, back to summer. I love it now. I can do without the oppressive heat and humidity, but the positive aspects of the season far overshadow the negative. Summer, with all its outdoor fairs, concerts and festivals—not to mention the ability to have a frosty alcoholic beverage during daylight hours without looking like an alcoholic—is a prime PhatKid season. In fact, it comes in a close second to winter, when, of course, one can indulge in all sorts of food and drink in celebration of the holidays.

Since moving to Westchester, I’ve been able to be a PhatKid every weekend. In my part of town, it seems like there’s a fair or carnival or festival or—even better— a feast! every week, complete with games, rides and food. Glorious food. And since most of these events are in towns with large Italian populations, or at least, with a dominant roman catholic church, they center around Italian feasts.

Last night, we went to the Feast of St. Augustine at—where else—St. Augustine’s church. The first thing we did when we got there was grab dinner (you never eat before a feast). PapaPhat had a sausage, onions and pepper wedge (AKA hero/sub/grinder/sandwich) and I, MamaPhat, had a steak, onions and pepper wedge. BabyPhat had pizza, french fries and spaghetti and meatballs. Well, one huge meatball.

And then, the pièce de résistance of all of these festivals—fried dough. It has different names in various places, but in our neck of the woods, we call them zeppolis (since most feasts are Italian) or funnel cake. They’re not the same thing, though they are both fantastic.

Zeppolis are small balls of dough, or shaped like doughnuts, dropped into hot oil, fried, and served in a while paper bag with an ample amount of powdered sugar. When they give you the bag, you really want to close it up and give its contents a good shake or two to really get the sugar well distributed:

(sorry, the pictures I took came out blurry so you’ll have to make do with ones I found on Google)

Funnel cake, meanwhile, is basically batter that has been “funneled” directly into the hot oil. It’s usually served on a white paper plate with a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar. Can also be found at amusement parks:

Other favorites:
Snow Cones

Italian Ices
(Not the pre-packaged crap in a cup, though. It must be Rita’s or Uncle Louie G’s or similar)

Kettle Corn

Cotton Candy
(BabyPhat's Personal Fave)


Blooming Onion and Remoulade Sauce
(oh, drool...)

Caramel Apples
Candy apples are okay, but caramel is where it’s at. And if covered in nuts, even better.

Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade

And, a recent discovery:

I finally got myself to try one and damnit, I found out I really, really like them!
What’s not to like? Is it a meat? Is it starch? A meal? A snack? Savory? Who cares?!
It’s on a STICK, people!!

On that note, my next goal is to drag the PhatFamily to the NY State Fair. I don’t even know where or when it’s held, but we need to go. Because, well, there will be corn dogs...


  1. When we lived in Queens when I was a kid, my Dad used to bring me home Zeppoles all the time from a street vendor by the Main Street (Flushing) subway station. Those little brown balls of dough with sugar on top were like pure heaven! I personally like them much better than funnel cakes (although who can resist any type of fried dough?!)

  2. It's in Syracuse! Every year. We used to go as kids. I think we'll be up that way during that time, if you seriously go.


  3. I constantly obsess about fried dough at baseball games, then I don't eat it. Huh. Just the thought is apparently enough! I definitely have a Fenway frank or 2,3...

  4. sule the state fair is in Syracuse. this year goes from the 27th up to labor day, but basically its the 2 weeks (or so) before labor day each year

  5. OMG I love funnel cakes & snow cones (the Mexican ones since I am Latino lol) but one thing I'm dying to try is Zeppolis!


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