A dimeand Cheeto ring


Consider this column “junk food1.2” or maybe “junk food reboot,” since after I submitted last week’s column, I realized that I had omitted some things that I had intended to include.

The first being my take on deep-fried butter, which I understand originated at the Texas state fair. Somehow, a chunk of frozen fat, wrapped in carbs and fried in another kind of fat, doesn’t really trip my trigger. I can’t imagine that the butter doesn’t leak out, in which case, they might have to serve it with a ladle of sauce consisting of hot oil infused with melted butter. Not on my bucket list.

The other thing I left out was a list of favorite snack foods around the world. Some of these make the word unique a gross understatement.

For instance, in the U.K., one popular U.S. Mexican chain serves quesadillas that are flour tortillas with Kit Kat bars melted in them, then sold as chocodillas. According to the restaurant’s U.K. Facebook page, they are served in a Kit Kat wrapper.

Lay’s unusual potato chip flavors have nothing on Scotland’s. Mackie’s of Scotland markets haggis chips, prawn cocktail chips, venison and cranberry chips, roast ham chips and whiskey and haggis chips. I’m not sure if the whiskey in the chips helps wash down the haggis or not. I think a scotch (neat) or glass of whiskey would probably do a better job of it.

Spain sells “jamon (ham) Ruffles. They are made from the Iberico pig, very popular in Spain, whose diet leans heavily to acorns.”JunkFoodGuy” says they are “not atrocious but not too terrific.”

In Asia, seafood-flavored chips are readily available, the most unusual of which is the softshell crab flavor. They are made with crab extract, but the chips are reputed to taste like crab.

Japanese palates seem by far the most adventurous. They serve corn chowder and cream stew-flavored popsicles, aa well as Napolitan popsicles – Napolitan contains pasta, onions, green peppers and catsup. A brave group of news reporters volunteered to try it, but melted it first and drank it like shots. In retrospect, maybe not so brave after all! Japan has more than 300 flavors of Kit Kats, including “wasabi-flavored, sake, pumpkin pudding, pear, soybeans, purple sweet potatoes, red bean sandwich and roasted corn.” And apparently that is just the tip of the iceberg! says “Most of these [flavors] have no business being lumped together with chocolate and wafers.” But Japan is still making them, so obviously someone likes them.

To tempt American palates, they do also make strawberry/blueberry flavors, to which says “yes please.”

I did not make a concerted effort, or any effort for that matter, to locate recipes for any of these concoctions. You’re on your own with that.

But sent a missive with foods you love/foods for cheat days/and more junk foods. So I am including some of them. The fried Oreos sound okay. I know I like fried ravioli, having tried it as an appetizer at a restaurant or two. But as far as I am concerned, you can keep the calamari (apologies to those who love it). The contributor says to remove and reserve the tentacles, but never says what to do with them. Do they get fried, too? But my real objection to calamari is that I think you could take some ¼- to 3/8-inch rubber bands, marinate, bread and fry them and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. But maybe that’s just me.

One word of caution, when deep frying anything, don’t guess at the temperature. Either use a deep fryer or an electric frying pan which have temperature regulators, or at the very least use a kitchen thermometer to make sure the oil stays at a safe temperature.

Just in case you have noticed an unusual number of typos this week, I am not at my best when I wait until about 3 a.m. to tackle this. Luckily my polydactyl cat, Dixon (he has “thumbs”), offered to type it for me. He is a terrific typist, but can’t spell worth a darn and unfortunately spellcheck does not consider context when flagging words!

Liven up your Thursday mornings by tuning in to Coulee Region Cooks from 10 to 11 a.m. on WIZM-AM radio, 1410 on the dial. Spend an hour with Mike Hayes and a different guest(s) each week in his studio kitchen, sharing recipes and cooking tips, along with a generous serving of fun.

Send requests, recipes and/or cooking tips and techniques to Alice P. Clark at: Reader Exchange, c/o La Crosse Tribune, 401 N. Third St., La Crosse, Wis. 54601; e-mail:; or send a fax to 608.782.9723, attn: Reader Exchange.

Carnival Deep-Fried Oreos

2 quarts peanut oil

1 large egg

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 cup pancake mix

1 (18-ounce) package regular Oreos

Confectioners’ sugar

Heat peanut oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees. Whisk together egg, milk, and vegetable oil in a bowl until smooth. Stir in pancake mix until no dry lumps remain. Dip cookies in batter one at a time; carefully place in hot oil. Fry only 4 or 5 at a time. Fry until golden-brown, about 2 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate before serving. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve. (rachaela;

Fried Ravioli

4 cups vegetable oil

6 whole eggs

½ cup half and half

2 cups flour

2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs

24 whole frozen ravioli

2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Heat vegetable oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat, to 400 degrees. While oil heats, whisk together eggs and half-and-half. In a separate bowl, add flour. In a third dish, add breadcrumbs. Dunk frozen ravioli into egg mix, followed by flour and again in egg; coat with breadcrumbs. Set aside on a plate. Once oil is hot, drop three or four raviolis into oil; fry approximately 1½ to 2 minutes or until golden brown and hot inside. Transfer raviolis to a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese. Serve with marinara sauce. (Markey Koga;

Crispy Fried Calamari

1 pound fresh calamari

2 cups milk

1 lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon hot garlic sauce

2 cups flour

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 egg

2 cups vegetable oil for frying

Lemon wedges for serving

Clean calamari; cut bodies into thick rings, reserving tentacles. Mix milk and lemon juice in a large bowl; let rest 5 minutes until it thickens. Add garlic hot sauce. Add calamari; soak in milk up to 4 hours. In a bowl, mix flour, salt, black pepper, paprika and cayenne. Beat eggs in another bowl. Remove calamari from milk mixture; drain. Dip into egg, then flour mixture. Fill a heavy skillet with 2 cups vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat to 360 degrees or (preferably) set a deep fryer to 360 degrees. Fry calamari, in batches, until brown and crispy, about 4 minutes. Place on a plate; pat dry any excess oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges. (rachaela;

Send requests, recipes and/or cooking tips and techniques to Alice P. Clark at: Reader Exchange, c/o La Crosse Tribune, 401 N. Third St., La Crosse, WI 54601; e-mail:

Liven up your Thursday mornings by tuning in to Coulee Region Cooks from 10 to 11 a.m. on 1410-AM on the radio dial.


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