“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
This quote is originally attributed to Anne of Green Gables and I couldn’t agree more. October is full of cool breezes, colorful trees, first fires and fall festivals.
I love in our area that a festival can be found every weekend in October. Of course, Gainesville’s own Mule Camp Market is an anticipated annual event and I can hardly wait for one thing in particular, the funnel cakes. Year after year, the Phoenix Society whips up this delicious treat for us to enjoy.
A funnel cake is a very basic batter-fried dough in hot oil and sprinkled with powdered sugar. But my, oh my, it is scrumptious. I eat one funnel cake a year and look forward to it for months.
I think we might all agree the best thing about festivals is the food. Let’s discuss the options.
The fry-world is going crazy. Folks are frying everything imaginable: Twinkies, Oreos, Snickers, Pop Tarts, macaroni and cheese and pickles. And can you believe, they fry butter? Fried butter, oh my word.
In the South, we like things fried but let’s stick with an old favorite, the fried pie. Fill that crust with peaches, apples, chocolate, sweet potatoes or blueberries and now you’re talking. That’s the kind of frying that will speak to your heart and your stomach.
Another favorite are the caramel apples. Years ago I was in an organization that participated as a vendor at the Mule Camp (or Corn Tassel as it was known back then) selling caramel apples. However, we simplified the eating process by coring and slicing the apple; drizzling on the caramel and sprinkling nuts on top. This is a great way to have the same caramel apple taste at home without all of the fuss of a traditional caramel apple.
Roasted corn is another festival favorite that’s sure to please. There’s nothing better than covering your face with corn kernels and butter while you walk around all of the booths. Of course, no list of Southern festival foods would be complete without hot-boiled peanuts. The smell alone will draw you to them.
We try to attend as many festivals in North Georgia as we can this time of year. And let me just say, there are some good ones. I encourage you to mark your calendars now. It’s a great place to meet some extremely talented local artisans as well as have some of the best food you’ll eat all year.
In the spirit of all things fall, here is a recipe for what I call corn maze mix. This would be a fun treat for teachers or co-workers. Or just to snack on while you’re visiting the festivals. Happy fall, y’all!
Corn maze mix
* 8 ounces white chocolate baking bars, coarsely chopped
* 4 cups Corn Chex cereal
* 2 cups bite-size pretzel twists
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 1 cup candy corn
* 1 cup orange and black M&Ms
In large microwavable bowl, microwave chopped baking bars uncovered on high for 1 1/2 minutes to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.
Gently stir in cereal, pretzels and raisins until evenly coated. Stir in candy corn and M&Ms.
Spread on waxed paper or foil until cool and chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. Break into chunks. Store loosely covered.
Crevolyn Wiley is a Gainesville resident with her first published cookbook “Cooking with Crevolyn” available at J&J Foods. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.