Anthony Anderson Preps for ‘Carnival Cravings’ With Deep-Fried Everything


Oh, Mylanta! Anthony Anderson puts his tummy to the test as host of Carnival Cravings With Anthony Anderson, a new Food Network series that finds the black-ish star hitting midway fairs from coast to coast so he can sample some of the greasiest, gooiest, most gastronomically insane eats ever.

How do you survive a show that has you eating a beef rib that weighs 24 pounds, not to mention mac-and-cheese-stuffed burgers and spaghetti-and-meatball sundaes?
This is who I am, and I can’t deny it. This show is a chance for me to get in there with Middle America and eat what the folks eat every summer. Hey, I might be an actor with a great job, but I much prefer hanging with the everyday man. I just hope my cardiologist doesn’t watch this show. I can hear it now. “Anthony, you just lost 50 pounds! What are you trying to do?”

What are you trying to do?
Don’t blame me. Food Network threw me a real curveball here. I was like, “Carnivals? Sure! Why not?” I figured I’d be eating corn dogs and turkey legs. I didn’t know I’d be eating Twix on a stick, shoved in a Twinkie that’s wrapped in bacon, deep-fried in funnel cake batter, then topped with confection sugar sauce and crushed Oreo cookies. Not that I’m complaining.

Is there anything that can’t be deep-fried?
Nope. We went to a fair that deep-fries watermelon! There’s deep-fried butter. Even a deep-fried root beer float, where, believe it or not, the ice cream stays frozen. There’s a lot of skill, technique and real thought going into some of this stuff. Of course, it helps that carnies are, by nature, a little bit crazy.

Any carnival food you won’t try?
Not as of yet. I’m pretty adventurous. Besides, like every parent, I always tell my children, “How do you know you don’t like something unless you’ve tried it?” I have to lead by example. Within reason, of course. Let’s not get carried away here. Bull balls? Uh, no, thanks, I’m cool.

Carnival Cravings isn’t only about eating, right?
It’s the entire carnival experience—the lifestyle, the culture, the pig races, the demolition derbies. I’ve never thrown an ax before in my life, but I won second place in the lumberjack contest. I’m out there milking cows and sumo wrestling. It’s hard work. [Laughs] So then I have to eat a little more to keep up my strength.

Anthony’s Corn Muffins

Anthony Anderson’s dream meal? “Pan-seared filet mignon, green beans, fingerling potatoes and this killer corn bread,” he says. “I go the easy route and use a packaged mix, then add some serious magic.”

6–8 servings

1 package Jiffy corn muffin mix
4–6 strips of bacon
1 jalapeño pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese

Cook bacon until crispy. Cool and crumble into pieces. Finely chop the jalapeño. Cut cheese into ¼-inch cubes. Follow directions on Jiffy mix (or any corn muffin mix of your choice), adding the required milk and egg. Then fold bacon, jalapeño and cheese into the mixture. Pour into greased muffin tins. Bake according to package directions until golden brown.

Carnival Cravings With Anthony Anderson, Wednesdays, 10/9c, Food Network