Yesterday I noticed a sign outside a restaurant, "Come try our fried pickles". Should I be surprised? No. We fry everything. In fact someone said, "Southerners don't age, they just drop dead". If you look at the list of foods we fry, you would know why. But, we die happy.
Now, I'm not talking about silly things like Snickers candy bars, Twinkie's, Oreo's, or Coca Cola. (Yes, there are folks out there who "fry" Coca Cola. Talk about the ultimate oxymoron - Fried Diet Coke!) I'm talking about real food, meats and vegetables. And, when it comes to frying, we don't stop with chicken, potatoes, or fish, we go to the next level - chicken livers, gizzards (which are actually giblets), chitlins (the viscera intestines of a pig) (Note here: I don't eat all this.), okra, green tomatoes, hush puppies, sweet potatoes, and the list goes on. - alligator, squash, mushrooms. It's going to taste better fried.
And, we like it "deep fried" not just pan fried. Any serious (honest) cook will tell you that the best fried foods are fried in lard, not any kind of healthy oil. We may die early, but by God when we go, we go out happy and having eaten well during our short life span.
The State Fair of Texas fancies itself as the "Fried Food Capitol of Texas". In my mind, it may have been game, set, match when in 2009 they gave the Big Tex Food Award in creativity to a concessioner for "Deep Fried Butter" described as "100% pure butter whipped 'til light and fluffy, then specially sweetened with a choice of several flavors. The tantalizing mixture is surrounded by a special dough and quick fried." I don't think this can be topped as the ultimate fried dish. But then again, in Texas they fry pecan pies.