25 December 2016

All the #WorldsFair Game: A #Carnival Themed Room #FunFood #Nostalgia #Novelty #Cake

As a child, I loved it when the county fair came to town bringing its Calliope music, amusement park rides, games, ponies and plethora of concession stand foods. My mom would take us and we'd wander the fairgrounds for hours, imbibing all the sights and sounds. There were so many other worldly things to behold. It was heaven. A fair was such a place of magic for me that when I handed over my admission ticket and crossed through its gates being surrounded by hoards of people no longer fazed me.

I almost always won a little goldfish, which I would bear home excitedly in its water-filled plastic bag, my hands still sticky with cotton candy, my pocket bulging from a candy apple I'd tucked there to munch later. My closest sister and I would tally our spoils and regale each other with stories of how each item had been acquired, our tales getting taller with each retelling. We'd giggle long into the night, falling asleep with bellies full of mirth. The glow from a visit to the fair could illuminate me for days.

Being an unique individual, an odd duck as it were, I enjoy variety, novelty and strangeness and the fair packed all this in a plenty. There was no place like it on earth --- a window to worlds far removed from the staid, conservative box walling in my small town life. Unbelievably, as young and impressionable little nerd, I got to attend the 1982 World's Fair (or the Knoxville International Energy Exposition) on a field trip with the school's gifted program. In my reflections, the World's Fair marked the first time that I was able to personally witness working large scale ideas, which up to that point I'd only read about in books.

Encountering "dreams made real" altered my entire concept of thinking like a "county fair x 1,000,000" the World's Fair proved an event so momentous it would inform much of my adult life philosophy, from my hard-core support of solar energy to my desire to build a video arcade in the basement of my dream home. To this day, I'm still not certain how my mother managed to pull off paying for the trip. As an adult, I can well appreciate the sacrifices it must have meant for our materially poor family to scrimp and save the funds required. (My mother would move mountains for her children's education. Thank you, mom.) Oh, what memories --- still so vivid in my mind's eye!

With such far out experiences warping my psyche, it should be no wonder that I collect World's Fair memorabilia, automatons, puppets, marionettes and novelty kitsch, or that I love stuffed animals, pet fish, target shooting and concession foods like funnel cake, nachos and popcorn. My basement blueprint (consisting of a barroom, entertainment center and home theater) is centered around a carnival theme. When complete, it will have a sizable concessions area where all manner of novelty food stuff can be made on the fly.

Image (c) Kmart.com
Mini Bundt Cake Maker
Image (c) Kmart.com
Mini Bundt Cake Maker
I keep an eye out for deals on nifty small kitchen appliances and too bright decor in order to outfit my concessions grotto. (At this point, I own a good number of zany carnival inspired food gadgets made by companies such as Nostalgia Electrics.) Over the summer, I purchased a flipping Elite Cuisine Mini Bundt Cake Maker, ostensibly because I didn't like the fact that it will overheat the entire house if the oven is turned on in order to bake a cake when it's 90+ degrees outside. In truth, I simply adore kitchen gadgets, especially ones that make food fun.

I got it for a steal. Regularly priced $39.99 at Kmart online; however, by combining a Sears Gift Card (earned via Recyclebank), SYWR Points, SYWR Surprise Points, and a coupon, I only paid $2.25 OOP using my free cash Bluebird card --- and it was shipped to me for free due to my SYWMax program trial!
Yesterday, while watching a movie, I also baked a couple mini bundt cakes, just because I could. (Well, Kroger gave me a free box of Pillsbury Cake Mix during its 12 Days of Deals Holiday promotion and that strawberry cake mix kept staring at me, so I gave in and baked it. 1 box of cake mix = 2 mini cakes) Pup, who is ever a ready sous chef, tried to eat an entire mini cake. It ended up being a great afternoon in spite of a lackluster movie rental (Florence Foster Jenkins). A good time was had by all!

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