Treat Street Beckons |

Treat Street Beckons

Treat Street is at the crossroads of the Nevada County Fair, literally and figuratively. Ask anyone, “Why do you go to the Fair?” Somewhere in their answer is, “to watch the people and to eat.” No matter what your diet ethic is, the Zone, South Beach, counting points, counting fats, counting carbs, Treat Street beckons. One mother of grade school children gave away her secret for enjoying this time. “We get our food and go and sit on the grass near the cows. That’s where all of our friends sit and the kids can play while we watch the people.

But what do you eat if you’re trying to “meltdown” or follow a particular diet plan? “Everything! Gotta have the Tempura zucchini and corn dogs, and corn on the cob, and baked potato, and a nacho grande.” Top it off with a fruit smoothie and at least you’ve met your recommended five servings a day of fruit and vegetables.

But who are we kidding? There’s a lot of fat and carbs in there. Of course you can take a sane approach to this. Corn on the cob is so good it doesn’t really need butter. Baked potatoes can be built with a wide variety of toppings. Choose the healthiest and keep the sour cream to a minimum. There’s a lot of vitamin C in the potato skin.

Nachos are actually a well-balanced choice, protein in the meat and cheese, lettuce and tomatoes pile on the benefits of veggies, and the tortilla chips and beans add fiber.

And the corn dog? No redeeming nutritional qualities but think about this? There are many ways to determine the value of a given food. You can read the nutrition label for calories, fats, carbs, sodium, and vitamins. You can carry a little booklet that helps you calculate throughout the day. You can become well-versed in the point system. One woman saves up points so she can splurge at the Fair, then she only splurges half as much as she used to.

But here’s the real value. Sharing culture and creating

community. That’s what we do when we break bread together. Fairs and festivals ritualize this by making us take time from our daily routine to celebrate. It is at the dinner table that parents or friends pass on their values as the events of the day are put into context while everyone shares the meal.

Wander back in your memories. Just slow down for a

minute and think back. What wafts up? Most likely something related to food. There is probably some can’t-live-without recipe that has been handed down and passed around. That is the value of food that can’t be placed on a nutrition label. It is one of the ties that bind.

And that is what we look forward to when we make a beeline for Treat Street. Suspending time. Indulging once again, just for today. Fulfilling anticipation and having expectations met. Sitting with friends, watching the people and feeling totally safe for a little while. Not too long ago many businesses would close during the five days of the Fair, because everyone was at the Fair.

That’s when Nevada County discovered the “Five Day Rule” – whatever you eat from Wednesday through Sunday doesn’t count. So this year you can lighten up when it comes to counting, carbs, fats, and calories. Moo on down to Treat Street and enjoy! And don’t forget the calory and carb-burning exercise you’ll be getting from a day walking around the Fair!

Bette Worth is the Executive Director of the Senior Citizens Foundation of Western Nevada County and former food writer for The Union.

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