Carlson: Longing for a taste of normalcy? Sure, college football is back, but how about a Fletcher's corny dog?
I’ve never had a Fletcher’s corny dog at the State Fair of Texas.
There. I admit it.
Over the past couple decades, I have covered my fair share of OU-Texas games. I walked the midway. Stood in the shadow of Big Tex. Marveled at the size of the ferris wheel. But never did I eat one of those iconic corny dogs.
That changed the other day.
I needed a taste of college football.
Even as we celebrate the return of college football in our state this week, we know much of the experience will be different during the pandemic. What it looks like. What it sounds like. What it feels like. The action on the field will look familiar, thankfully, but just about everything else has changed.
We long for the familiar.
Maybe that’s why I wanted a Fletcher’s corny dog, even if it wasn’t something with which I was familiar. Many consider it a comfort food like no other. Who couldn't use a little comfort right now?
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I’ve had corn dogs, of course, but when Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs announced it would be selling its headliner at Golden Chick restaurants in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana through Oct. 25, I figured it was time to try a corny dog.
Luckily for me, there’s a Golden Chick within a mile of my house, and I didn’t even have to get out of my car to get the goods.
Truthfully, convenience is why I’ve never had a Fletcher’s corny dog before. I abhor waiting in lines. I avoid it at all costs. Sometimes, waiting in line is a must. You have to take your spot and lump it no matter how long.
But waiting in line for a corny dog at the State Fair of Texas is not mandatory.
So, I’ve never done it.
Of course, there are lots of folks who would say a corny dog IS mandatory at the State Fair of Texas. Since brothers Neil and Carl Fletcher first started selling corny dogs at the fair in 1942, tens of millions of corny dogs have been bought. Now, more than 500,000 are purchased each year at the fair.
That equates to 30 tons of hot dogs, by the way.
And that, my friends, is a lot of hot dogs.
No wonder the lines are so long at the fair.
Needless to say, I felt a strange sense of glee when I drove up to Golden Chick the other day to order my first corny dog and found the drive thru empty. I pulled right up to the board, and when the gal inside asked me what I wanted, I told her I wanted to try one of the corny dogs.
“OK!” she said.
She sounded kind of excited.
Or maybe that was just my excitement transferred to her.
Whatever the case, I got my corny dog a few minutes later — I went with the combo meal for $7.99, but you can just get the corny dog for $5 — and headed home to give it a try.
I decided to do a traditional first bite with mustard. The Fletcher family says mustard is a must, so who am I to argue?
Since I’ve never had a Fletcher’s corny dog, I don’t have a baseline to know if this one was better or worse or just like you get on the midway, but it was pretty darn good. Crispy on the outside. Good balance of meat and breading.
There were even some fried bits of breading on the outside that I broke off and ate. They were extra crisp, and since it was pretty much just greasy, fatty bits of corn meal, they were super delicious
The whole thing was way, way, way better than what I remember corn dogs being like as a kid.
If you’re looking for more of an expert opinion, a writer for the Dallas Observer gave the Golden Chick version of Fletcher’s corny dog a try and wrote this: “It turns out this food tastes just as good … as it does at the annual fair in South Dallas.”
I know lots of folks are looking for a little bit of normalcy in these crazy times. College football will provide a reprieve when it returns this weekend, but if you need a taste of normal — or if you just have a hankering for a good corn dog — these will hit the spot.
And you might have the added bonus of not having to wait in line either.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 405-475-4125 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK or follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok.