TURLOCK -- Emanuel Teixeira will eat just about anything. Anything deep-fried.
Lucky for him, that's not hard to find at this week's Stanislaus County Fair. There's deep-fried cheese on a stick, deep-fried bacon-wrapped hot dogs, even deep-fried sweet potatoes (in the form of sweet-potato fries).
Teixeira, a 41-year-old systems administrator from Newman, loves it all. His favorite? Hand-dipped corn dogs, straight from the deep fryer, of course.
"The fair is an excuse to eat what's not good for you and get away with it," he said Sunday.
Take that, Dr. Oz.
The fair only comes around once a year and with it comes a ton of artery-clogging treats, everything from corn-on-the-cob dipped in a vat of melted butter to frosting-slathered cinnamon rolls to handmade pies.
There's not a salad in sight.
"Why would you want to eat healthy?" asked Teixeira's 19-year-old nephew, Andrew. "It's a fair."
Exactly, said Stephanie Paige of Turlock, digging into her roasted corn-on-the-cob dripping with butter and studded with salt.
"Delicious," she said.
But as good as the corn is, Paige is on the lookout for one of her favorite fair foods: deep-fried vegetables. Her husband, Greg, is hoping to find deep-fried clams.
What about the calories? The fat grams?
"You eat them once a year," said Paige, a registered nurse, "so it doesn't matter."
Down the way at the VFW Auxiliary hamburger stand, longtime volunteer Barbara Branch agrees. Her customers -- the booth sold 575 cheeseburgers Saturday -- aren't exactly devotees of the acai berry diet.
"People wait all year to come here for our hamburgers," said Branch, 80, a Turlock native who has been helping out at the stand for close to 30 years.
The reason? The secret sauce. Concocted by a past president of the auxiliary, it's a mix of -- well -- the auxiliary ladies aren't saying.
"We can't tell you," Branch said. "We call it the goop."
One of the best things about the auxiliary's booth: Hamburgers cost $3.75; cheeseburgers are $4.
"We've had the same prices for four years," Branch said. "We want our people who live here in the community to be able to afford to enjoy it."
Another food fixture at the fair is Latif's pie booth. This downtown Turlock restaurant is known for its pies. Shrine clowns sell slices for $4.75 at the fair to benefit Shriner's programs.
Berry pie was the hot item Saturday; Sunday it was rhubarb. Bob Huntley, known as "Bob-O the Clown" to his fellow Shriners, favors the apricot.
"In fact, I'll probably take one home tonight," the 64-year-old said.
He's not worried about calories. But what about Teixeira, the corn dog lover?
"We're not concerned about calories or price," said his brother Nelio Teixeira, a 45-year-old construction worker, also from Newman. "Taste, that's what it's all about."
Bee staff writer Kerry McCray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2358.