Minnesota State Fair Food

Today, for the conclusion of the November blogging challenge, I thought I’d finally finish my wrap up of the Minnesota State Fair with the food portion of the day. Thanks to everyone who has commented this month! It’s been fun and I’m going to try to keep it up (but not QUITE so frantic a pace).
The gang at the beginning of the day

I went to the State Fair with five friends on a Saturday in August. We spent nearly 12 hours at the fair and photographed almost every morsel of food that entered our mouths. This is the documentation of that process. Ratings will follow each picture. Thanks to all involved for appearing in pictures, even when you look goofy, and to Tricia for letting me use all her pictures.
Abby with Sparkling Apple Cider Float

Sparkling apple cider with cinnamon ice cream in it.

Apple Cider Float: D (not worth it)
Posing with my Cream Puff
Standard cream puff. I ended up with powdered sugar all over my jacket and whipped cream all over my face.
Cream Puff: B+ (Worth it, but not spectacular)

Big Fat Bacon (on a stick)
Slices of bacon (1/3 of a pound) on a stick. Simple concept. Pretty fatty.
Big Bacon on a Stick: ? (Untasted by me)

Deep Fried Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Reese’s battered and then deep fried. On toothpicks so they are kindof on sticks.

Deep Fried Reese’s: A (Ben) C (Katie)

Chocolate Belgian Waffle on a Stick

Sadly, not served on a stick due to the strawberries and whipped cream.

Chocolate Belgian Waffle: ? (Untasted by me)

Fries and Soda
Fries and Soda. There’s not much to be said about that.
Fries: A (Mmm, perfect)
Soda: ?

Green Pepper Rings and Cotton Candy

Green Pepper Rings are like onion rings but made with green pepper instead of onion.

Green Pepper Rings: B+
Cotton Candy is self explanatory.
Cotton Candy: ?

Fry Dog and Caramel Roll

Fry Dogs are a treat originally from South Korea, I think. The concept is a hot dog on a stick coated with french fries in a batter.

Fry Dog: C- (Concept sounded better in theory)
Caramel Rolls are self explanatory.
Caramel Roll: B

Hot Dish on a Stick

Hot Dish on a stick is a Minnesotan treat. (Hot dish being a Minnesotan term for casserole.) Hot Dish on a stick is tater tots and meatballs alternated on the stick, dipped in batter, and deep fried. They are served with two dipping sauces…cream of mushroom soup and ketchup.

Hot Dish on a Stick: A-

Lemonade is the classic summer drink at the fair.
Lemonade: B+ (I can’t give it an A if it wasn’t fresh pressed…)

Deep Fried Cream Cheese on a Stick
A big chunk of cream cheese, put on a stick, battered and deep fried and served with pepper jelly. Bizarre but not unlike cream cheese wontons. Far better than the Cheese on a Stick that was velveeta, I’m sure.
Deep Fried Cream Cheese on a Stick: B+ (for creativity)

Peach Glazed Pig Cheeks

Peach glazed pig cheeks were weird, but slightly peachy and served on toothpicks (thus they could be classified as on a stick). Famous Dave’s always has something new and this was it. Still, halibut cheeks are yummier…

Peach glazed pig cheeks: B (too much gristle and fat)

Frozen chocolate banana

Who doesn’t love chocolate dipped frozen bananas?

Frozen chocolate banana: B+

Tornado Potato

After the fry dog disappointed, I was worried about this other South Korean treat, but the Tornado Potato brought everything the Fry Dog lacked. This mean monster is like a GIANT potato chip made from one potato. They have cool tools to make them and the stick to the stick so that people can share. There were also different seasonings to sprinkle. I would have/could have eaten about 10 of these. Scary.
Tornado Potato: A+
Honey Ice Cream with Sunflower Seeds
Honey ice cream got Abby SUPER excited. I don’t like honey, so I was less excited.
Honey Ice Cream with sunflower seeds: ?

Lingonberry Ice Cream
The Scandinavians sure knew what they were doing. I think this cone cost me $5, but it was worth it. AMAZING ice cream. Ok, not as good as Italian gelato, but hey, it didn’t have chocolate in it. (And so good, Scott and Tricia got some minutes later.)
Lingonberry ice cream: A

At this point we did not eat for about an hour or two. We had too much oil in our bellies. But then we recovered and the eating resumed…

Deep Fried Cheese Curds
Take cheese curds, dip in batter, deep fry. Sadly, then they lose their squeak 🙁 They may or may not be consumed with ketchup.
Deep Fried Cheese Curds: B+
Texas Steak Dinner on a Stick
These were basically steak and veggie kabobs with a dinner roll thrown on the end. Quite bizarre. I was debating whether or not I was hungry, so I didn’t get one.
Texas Steak Dinner on a Stick: ?

I finally decided I was really really hungry and got a fajita. I forgot to take a picture of it until Tricia chastised me and caught me mid bite.
Fajita: B (really small, but met my needs)
Deep Fried Norwegian Banana Splits and Uffda Treat
A Deep Fried Norwegian Banana Split is a banana wrapped in lefse and deep fried. Then it’s topped with ice cream and mixed berries (lingon berries included) and whipped cream. Then you eat it and it is delicious.
Deep Fried Norwegian Banana Split: A- (it wasn’t on a stick, so it doesn’t get an A)
Uffda Treat is a scoop of cheesecake filling in a krumkake shell, topped with a pecan praline sauce.
Uffda Treat: C (primarily for not being as awesome as the banana split)

Sweet Martha Cookies and Milk
You must end your state fair experience with Sweet Martha Cookies (chocolate chip is the only choice) and Milk. Get a Bucket of Cookies and run to the all-you-can-drink-milk-for-a-dollar booth. Sit on the grass and eat and drink. Only not more than about two glasses of milk cause you might get sick.
Sweet Martha Cookies: A
Milk: A+
If you are interested in coming to the 2010 Great Minnesota Get Together, you should let me know ASAP, so I can book a space on my floor for you. I already have at least two people coming, so it should be a great time. Every year they add new foods and so your culinary horizons of deep fried food and deep fried food on sticks can continually be expanded. Until then, you may want to eat salad.

State Fair Art

(Written between 10/2/09 and 11/1/09) Fear not, loyal readers, I have returned from paper mode intact with more tales of the State Fair.

Since we spent about 12 hours at the fair, we got to see many varied aspects of the fair. In the first part of the series, you got to see the goofy looking animals, which is how our day began. In this installment, you’ll see some of the unqiue art. Then the final part will be about food. I should also mention that this post was specially requested by Simon, who, with her blog partner Ivan just celebrated her fifth blogoversary. Congratulations!

For some, unexplained reason, some counties get space to make diorama displays. One county made a “Pork is Safe” display with lots of glitter.

From Tricia

They wanted you to know that Swine Flu doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t eat pork. Noted. Apparently pigs also play baseball…

Another county taught people how to make cheese. They did this by showing them the “Home Cheesemaking” book on an easel. That is sure to inspire home cheesemaking. Other dioramas explained that wolves were endangered, that cannabis was an invasive weed, and that geocaching is fun.

After admiring the amazingly artistic dioramas, we went to look at the seed art. The concept of seed art is very simple. Think elementary school crafts. Glue seeds on a piece of paper to make it look like a picture. First, however, you must admire the corn cobs, as this is where seeds come from. (Scott admires corn well. Ben doesn’t do as good a job, especially for growing up on a corn farm.) You can win ribbons if you have good corn. It was unclear as to what made good corn and Ben would not enlighten us.

From Tricia

Then we got to the art. Notice Michele Bachmann, saint of wingnuts, next to Farah Fawcett. Also notice that these are not elementary school art (for the most part).

From Tricia

Then there was the inevitable portrait of Obama. In seeds, of course. (I must keep reminding you that this is seed art…)

From Tricia

And the crowning glory. Self Portrait with First Ladies. Mrs. R.W. Regan and Mrs. G.W. Bush. We don’t know who the self-portrait is of or why he has a halo or why the first ladies have animals on their shoulders. There are really so many unanswered questions about this picture. But apparently seeds were the proper medium, so there you have it. Self portrait with first ladies in seeds.
From Tricia

After all the seed art (more on seed art here), we were feeling like we needed a little more dairy, so we headed to the dairy building. In the dairy building, there is a rotating refrigerated platform. This is so that viewers can watch as the butter sculpter sculpts the head of the Princess Kay of the Milky Way and the Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalists. Please, please, please read more about this fascinating Minnesota tradition on the Wikipedia link above. You will not be disappointed. Reid has remarked dismay in the past, that our lab does not qualify as being involved in the production of dairy products, because he thought that I would make an excellent contestant. (I am now too old, sadly.)
One of the benefits to being a finalist in the Princess Kay of the Milky Way competition, is that you get your head carved in a 90 pound block of butter AND then you get to keep the head.
The girl above was interviewed by two of the other finalists (while in the refrigerated platform). One of the questions was “What are you planning to do with your butter head?” You will be pleased to know that her parents had just bought her a freezer for her butter head and she was planning to use it for a corn roast or wedding.

So there you go folks…art at the state fair.

State Fair: Animals and Pictures of Food

How can you not love the State Fair? In Alaska, the State Fair always meant giant cabbages and rides and winning blue ribbons. In Minnesota, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that the State Fair means Deep-Fried-Things (preferably On-A-Stick).


Tricia is demonstrating the proper excitement to show about “Cheese on a Stick.” And who can ignore the draw of “Fresh Fried Fruit On A Stick”?


But the mandatory pictures of every single thing we ate were not on my camera, so I cannot share that with you today.
The Star Tribune gave out Bacon Balm Mmmm tasty!


Sadly this was instead of the map of the fair on a stick with the best food (and newest food-on-a-stick) identified. The lack of such a map made food finding much more difficult than prior years. But the bacon chapstick eased the pain.

I’ve been to the MN State Fair three times before, but I’ve never really looked at the animals before. This time I was looking through the eyes of Simon. Alpacas!


Sheep are stupid! They eat their cages.


The lamb lead, it turns out, is a lamb showing competition crossed with a fashion show. The lamb in the foreground is wearing several necklaces. The girl made her own wool dress. She’s 13.


This is some breed of chicken called a silkie. I found online where the breed is described as “An oddity of oddities of the poultry and pet world.”


And this breed of chicken looks like a teenager who’s refusing to cut his hair.


This rabbit looks like my old Himalayan cat.


Join us next time for art and butter at the Fair! Or food. Which ever comes first.

Edit: I’m trying out new blogging software, so for the moment, you can’t click on the photos and see larger versions. They can be found in this picasa album. I’m still not sure what I think of the software. I’m looking for a better WYSIWYG editor than blogger provides. Ideas? Anyone?