Organizers of the State Fair of Texas have just announced the winners of the Big Tex Choice Awards—the annual cooking deep-frying contest for fair concessionaires—and for the "most creative" dish they chose Fried Bubblegum. Which doesn't have any gum in it. Creative! Also: what?

"It does not work to fry bubblegum," contest winner Justin Martinez told the Star-Telegram. "It doesn't taste good, and you can't chew it." Martinez had tried out jelly beans once before, but those didn't impress the fair judges. Kool-Aid's been done. Butter's been done. Marshmallows? Done and Peepishly done. Oh, but not marshmallows enhanced with bubblegum extract! Those had not been done (or so Google suggests).

As this news segment shows, Martinez "rolls" marshmallows in the extract, dips them in a pink batter infused with sparkledust and essence d'My Little Pony, then fries them up until they're crispy golden brown. Sprinkle with Chiclets to taste.

Calling something "Bubblegum" that isn't bubblegum at all is a little misleading, no? (Maybe Texas isn't as tough on language as it is tough on crime.) Then again, it definitely shows creativity, kind of in the way that Magritte showed creativity in producing The Treachery of Images. Is it a pipe, or just an image of a pipe? Am I tasting fried bubblegum, or just the idea of fried bubblegum? Fried Bubblegum is The Treachery of Flavors.

While we're talking about State Fair of Texas fare, here's the full list of Big Texas Choice finalist-dishes:

  • Deep-Fried Pinapple Upside-Down Cake
  • Deep-Fried Texas Salsa™
  • El Bananarito (a deep-fried, doctored-up banana)
  • Fried Autumn Pie (not a fried pile of leaves but a deep-fried pumpkin pastry ball that kind of sounds good, almost)
  • Hans' Kraut Ball (sauerkraut and pork sausage rolled into a ball and deep-fried; can be served with raspberry chipotle, ostensibly to induce vomiting)
  • Walking Taco (a taco "served in a nacho cheese-flavored Doritos bag")
  • And last but not least: Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack, "a skewered buffalo chicken strip, coated [with] flapjack batter" that's rolled in "jalapeño bread crumbs" and deep-fried. Comes with a side serving of syrup. This dish won the "best taste" award.

The fair starts September 30. Bring your defibrillator.

[Star-Telegram, KSBY]