Follow this through for a moment: macaroni and cheese rolled in batter and deep-fried.
Pasta and dough, together at last, at the North Carolina State Fair.
Oh, the fair has peddled its run of deep-fried artery-busters over the years, from candy bars and moon pies to Coca-Cola and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Never before, though, has one flour-based food been dunked in another and fried – the carbohydrate equivalent of a nuclear reactor core.
Michael Wallace, of Raleigh, ordered a batch for his 3-year-old twins. Someone please call Social Services.
Chef's D'lites owner Vincent Thomas said he cooks up mac 'n' cheese in an especially gooey way, lets it congeal, cuts it into cubes, rolls it in a flaky batter and plops it in the hot vegetable oil.
But what holds it all together?
“That's a little too much information,” Thomas joked.
The other new cholesterol concoction is deep-fried pecan pie. “It's a Southern thing,” the vinyl banner above the booth declares.
The pie may rank as the best fried food value at the fair. It's a big, honkin' wedge of previously frozen sugary goo now warmed up and surrounded by funnel cake batter.
Fair attendance may be down this year, but word certainly had spread that this was the en vogue vein clogger. Customers in line murmured about the debut and asked for a review as an Observer correspondent, performing journalistic duty, chomped on a hunk of pie.
Deborah Cherry, a 38-year-old lab technician from Cary, ventured for the pecan calorie bomb. She, by the way, works at the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park.
“This is not so healthy, huh?” she asked.
Her daughter, Chelsea, a 10th-grader, shrugged off the latest fair fare for her deep-fried candy bar.
“It's got nothin',” she said, “on a Snickers bar.”