Disclaimer: Let me preface the following by saying that I was raised by Pennsylvania Dutch parents, which explains a lot about what I’m about to say:
When I was growing up, the list of what my parents “didn’t believe in” (mayonnaise, private cars, food made by strangers, and tuna from a can) was almost as long as the list of what they actively feared (avocados, botulism, spices of all kinds, and activities that attracted more than four people). That being said, both going to the State Fair and eating spicy foods were completely out of the question. (My only experience of going to a Fair came in 1976 when our elderly neighbors staged a pity-abduction and took my brother and me in the back of their wood-paneled Travelall. Sidenote: once we got there, I was both too thrilled and too afraid to eat anything.)
So, imagine the illicit charge I got (as both a food writer and Fair virgin) as I noshed my way through the tastings at last night’s Fair Food sneak peek in the Food & Fiber Pavillion. From this year’s bumper crop of TX commestibles, three standouts made my list for best bets for stocking the goodie-corner of my pantry.
Luscombe Farms’ Jalepeno Peach and Sweetfire Confetti jellies. Creator/owner Leslie Luscombe’s zippy condiments won Best in Show and People’s Choice awards at this year’s Zest Fest.
In a Pickle sweet and hot pickle slices. I’m dressing burgers with them as soon as I finish typing this.
Bugtussle Burn salsa, a sweet salsa with a sexy back end.
Alberto’s relish, a julienned catch-all condiment that could end up being a pantry staple in my house.
Since most of these products are brand-spanking new (some only a few months-old) their year-round distribution is limited. So, consider this your opportunity to stock up at the pavillion’s foodie store. As for me, I’ll be busy overcompensating – standing in the middle of a crowd and eating spicy guacamole made by complete strangers while I wait for them to take me for a ride in their car.