The Pork Rind Festival and Deep-fried Oreos

I am living the actor’s life. Do I know what the actor’s life is? No. But I imagine it to be sleeping until about 9:30, watching the third hour of Today (I knew there was a reason it existed), drinking coffee, doing miscellaneous stuff then going to the theater around 6:00, coming home around 11pm, eating Oreos, and going to bed. Whether that is actually an actor’s life or not, it’s mine for another couple weekends. But that left room for an outing to Harrod, Ohio and the Pork Rind Heritage Festival.

What is a pork rind? It is the skin of a pig deep fried. I know, ewww. I had eaten exactly one pork rind in the past. I was under-impressed. The only redeeming factor is that they are carb-free. My husband, however, had been talking up this festival for literally years. He has a deeper appreciation for pork rinds than I do. Still, I did not refuse to go.

You see, the best thing I ever ate in my entire life was a deep-fried Oreo at the Lake County Fair. You wouldn’t think they could make Oreos any better, but hot damn, deep frying anything makes it better and an Oreo is no exception. Gooey chocolate like a lava cake but with a slight crunch. My hope was that nestled among the pork rinds was a nugget of gold, aka a deep-fried Oreo. So off to Harrod we went!

Harrod is a small town and the festival was in the heart of everything. We arrived when it started on a beautiful day. There was music blaring from the grandstand and (thank God after 3 hours of driving with iced coffee) porta-potties. The main street was lined with little tents and typical fair carts.

Harrod has a nice memorial area, with a real helicopter.

We met some other brave family members there and headed toward the center of it all, the pork rinds. They were making the pork rinds fresh so we bought two bags and a t-shirt. I tried one of the plain and one barbeque pork rinds.

Was it everything I expected? Ummm, OK, they were significantly better tasting than the bagged ones at the gas station. I ate a few more, then called it quits. I can honestly say that the rinds were not awful. Not deep-fried Oreos certainly, but not awful. We didn’t realize it, but they also hosted a rather large old car show at the festival. We perused the automobiles, then engaged in some axe throwing. I frankly stunk, hitting the target only once. My brother and husband performed much better. Oh well, can’t be good at everything.

Nope, didn’t hit the target on this one either.

After a lovely day, we decided to go to Kewpees for lunch/dinner. Linner. I thought I had been disappointed in my quest for the holy grail of foods, but on the way out, TA-DA! Deep fried Oreos! The stand was nestled in the kids’ section, duh! I bought six and except for one that my husband pried out of my grasping chocolate covered fingers, I ate them all. Success! Harrod was a nice town and put on a nice festival. I am not sure why they chose pork rinds as the star attraction. Why not a deep-fried Oreo festival? Somebody should jump on that!

Kewpee Restaurants is a chain that used to have a restaurant in Toledo, where I grew up. It’s kind of the old-fashioned version of McDonald’s. There are only five left, and three are in Lima, Ohio. We went to the one that was eligible for the historic places register. We felt that to pay homage to our youth we should drop in and have a square burger. It is said that Kewpee inspired Dave Thomas to start Wendy’s. Not sure how true any of that is but it’s possible.  Kewpee has several slogans. The current advertising slogan is, “Hamburg pickle on top, makes your heart go flippity-flop.” How true that may be…other past slogans that were seen around the restaurant are, “Your Granpappy ate here” and “Mity Nice Hamburger.”

The “mascot” is a Kewpee doll, based on a real life Kewpie doll. Oh, remember when I said I should buy the book, “Creepy Ass Dolls?” I did! I thought of the book when I encountered the first Kewpee outside the door. There were several more strategically placed in corners staring at us with malevolence in their sweet little eyes. That may be a bit dramatic. Maybe.

We ate our burgers and fries on a wobbly table and thought about why we didn’t eat more Kewpees in our youth.

Where’s mine, mom?

Overall we had a wonderful day, And Chester? No, he didn’t get to go to the pork rind festival, although he would have loved it. Our neighbors took him for a walk and he got a few pork rinds when we got home. A couple days ago he got to go to Dairy Queen and to the park, so he’s enjoying summer.

Luckily he is not terrified of fireworks, just kitchen fans. Chester is a “roll with the punches” kind of guy. Have a safe 4th of July and take care of each other and your pets!