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The Boston Globe


Jennifer Graham

At the Big E, freedom is deep-fried

Now that McDonald’s is scaring off customers by posting calories on the drive-through menu, where’s a junk-foodie to go? To the Big E in West Springfield, of course, where the long, skinny arm of the Boston Public Health Commission can’t reach.

The organizers of New England’s largest fair didn’t know it, but in 1917 they created the last safe zone in the national war on fatty foods. At the Eastern States Exposition, gluttony is still encouraged and admired, and otherwise rational people cluster around a sculpture of butter and gape without irony, cream puff in one hand, corn dog in the other. You walk past the food booths, inhale the scent of deep-fried ecstasy, and wonder: How is this even legal just three hours from Michael Bloomberg’s New York City?

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