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What’s the story behind your favourite carnival food?


Image by Anuja Tilj from Pixabay

Summer and fall carnivals mean lots of things: rides, games and music.
But most importantly they mean food!
And not just any food — there’s a whole bunch of special occasion treats that are made for enjoying outside at a carnival.

Find out more about a few of those yummy snacks and the story behind them.

Caramel Apples

caramel apples

Photo by roaming-the-planet licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

Apples are already pretty awesome, but covering them in caramel takes apples to a whole other level of deliciousness.

According to a U.S. patent, the first caramel apple was created by Mrs. Edna Kastrup in 1948! The Affy Tapple company still uses her original recipe for their caramel apples today.

Caramel apples are popular at carnivals and at Halloween, often with nuts or candies added to the caramel coating.

Cotton Candy

This airy sweet may look like cotton, but all that fluffiness is sugar and air!

To make cotton candy, sugar is heated until it melts into a liquid. That liquid gets spun around in a machine. As it spins, the sugar escapes through tiny holes, forming sticky threads that are gathered up onto a cone or into a bag.

A little bit of food colouring is added to the sugar beforehand, otherwise the cotton candy would just be white.

Strangely enough for something that’s bad for your teeth, cotton candy was invented by a dentist in 1897! Maybe he was looking for more business?

BeaverTails Pastries

beaver tail pastry covered in sugar

Photo by Pearl Pirie licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

Don’t worry! No actual beavers were harmed in the making of this treat.

A BeaverTails pastry is fried dough that’s been stretched out flat, so that it’s shaped like a beaver’s big tail.

The cooked dough is then covered with sugar or some other topping, like fruit or chocolate (don’t try that with a real beaver!).

BeaverTails pastries are a completely Canadian snack, invented in Killaloe, Ontario, from an old family recipe.

Corn Dogs

Because everything tastes better when it’s been deep-fried, there’s the corn dog!

An ordinary hotdog is covered in cornmeal batter and then fried up on a stick.

Perfect for walking around a carnival while never missing a bite!

No one knows who came up with this brilliant invention, but corn dogs have been around since the 1920s.

Kettle Corn

old man in a tie dyed t-shirt making kettle corn in a big metal kettle

Photo by Geoff Livingston licensed CC BY-SA 2.0 

Can’t choose between a sweet or salty snack? You don’t have to at the carnival when there’s kettle corn!

It’s not just about adding some salt and sugar to popcorn though. Kettle corn gets much of its flavour from being cooked in big cast iron, copper or stainless steel containers. These are the kettles that give the corn its name.

Dutch settlers to North America wrote about having it at fairs and carnivals as far back as 1776. It’s historically delicious!