“Why do they call them Funnel Cakes? “, I asked. Donna playfully rolled her eyes, but Lucia was more than willing to give me an answer. Lucia explained, “it is because a funnel is used when pouring the batter into the hot oil.” I felt so dumb, I watched her make my very first funnel cake – it never registered. I have seen funnel cakes advertised at the State Fair in Wisconsin but I never had one, or even questioned the name. I quickly asked a few people in line if they knew why they are called funnel cakes. I was relieved when I got a few blank stares and one definite, “I don’t know”. The others with the blank stares nodded when I quickly explained it, some I don’t think still didn’t get it…
Lucia, Donna, and Cynthia were a good nature trio. I was walking by their booth at the Albuquerque Isotopes game last night and they were laughing about something. It was this laughter that drew me in. You could tell instantly that these ladies were great friends, they complimented each others personalities very well. I loved the banter, Donna was most playful. She and I traded a few barbs, they made me laugh. Lucia was the teacher of the group explaining where the original recipe was from and a few of the secrets that I can’t reveal for fear of Fred (the boss). Cynthia said, “You don’t want Fred making your cake”. Donna quickly added, “he is a little frugal with the batter”. Lucia laughed and said, “We make sure the customers are getting their monies worth”. The customers were lining up for the cakes as theirs was the only booth in the stadium, it was located down the 3rd base line of the main concourse. I walked the stadium and everywhere people were eating them.
They have been working with “Boss Man” Fred for a combined total of 46 years! “We love Fred” they all said. They know Fred from their other jobs with the city. A lot of family members have worked a booth from time to time when they needed a job – daughters, daughters-boyfriends, nephews, etc… Lucia was making most of the cakes when I was around. Donna was laughing, “It is better that way. I don’t make as good of a cake as she does. Besides, I am better at the register.” I laughed with her. I think she just liked talking to the customers, Cynthia filled the orders. Cynthia said, “It is a nice distraction working the booth and getting out of the house, instead of watching TV.” They worked in perfect harmony! If you are ever in Albuquerque and at an Isotopes game get yourself a funnel cake from these ladies!
The Isotopes had other interesting food options. I met Joe who was making Banana Foster’s. He was located behind home plate. To be honest, I had no idea what a Banana Foster was. Joe explained it’s a dessert made with bananas, vanilla ice cream, and a “special” sauce. The sauce was made with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum, and banana liqueur. The butter, sugar and bananas are cooked, adding the rum and liqueur then ignited. The bananas and sauce are then served over the ice cream. Preparation of the dish is a performance such as a flambe, which was what it was like with Joe. I was very impressed with how courteous and patient he was with me and my questions. His performance was outstanding and fun to watch!
I enjoyed both of these booths. For me, this is a nice change of pace compared to the typical ballpark food consisting of the usual hotdogs, brats and nachos. I’m not complaining about the typical ballpark food since a lot of that food comes from Wisconsin. For example, the San Francisco Giants advertise that they have “Sheboygan Brats”. I asked the vendor selling the brats about the name. He said, “Sheboygan stands for the best brats in the world” (Johnsonville makes them). Most of the stadiums I have been in have Gehl Nacho Sauce which is made in Germantown, Wisconsin. I am glad I finally had something to write about regarding my food on this journey! I will keep looking for different things that aren’t the ballpark norm!
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