HEDRICK, Ia. – Turns out, even in RAGBRAI’s rolling feast, there is always room for fried Jell-O.
Brenda Cox of nearby Ollie concocted the oddball treat a while ago and enlisted her family to sell it from her Nana’s Delicacies truck, along with deep-fried Klondike Bars and Krispy Kreme cheeseburgers. (Note to Iowa’s “Healthiest State” promoters: Good luck with that.)
Her recipe for the day went something like this: Take 25 pounds of strawberry Jell-O mix, plus some fresh strawberries, and beat it into a bucket of funnel cake batter. With an ice cream scoop, drop dollops of the pink batter into hot oil until the irregular golf-ball-sized blobs turn golden brown. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve with a smile.
The morsels are part of an ongoing project that Cox may one day take to the Iowa State Fair.
“It’s hard to get into fairs if you have the same thing that everybody else has, so we just began experimenting,” Cox said. “I’d heard of fried Coke and fried Kool-Aid, so I thought, ‘Why not fried Jell-O?’ ”
With help from her grandkids, “Nana” did a steady business with riders who were motivated more by curiosity than hunger. The general consensus: It tasted like balls of cherry chip cake or, in the words of Russ Brown of San Luis Opisbo, Calif., “a mushy banana.”
He took a bite and pretended to eat it like one of the stars on the Food Network. “Mmmm . . . mmm, mmmmm!”
A rider approached the truck with a grin and a sign he’d pulled up from the roadside: “Dave, we have your fried Klondike bar on a stick!”
He’d seen Nana’s Delicacies two nights earlier, after they’d run out of supplies. So they promised him one for later, to round out his week-long quest for various foods on a stick — a corn dog, a pork chop, a sausage, a slice of cheesecake and some candied bacon.
“I had the pickle, cored, with chipotle cream cheese,” he said. “That was the real revelation.”
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