Sunday, August 31, 2008

Minnesota State Fair!

For those of you in the state, you're supposed to read that title as per the theme song that's been playing on the commercials for the past month or so. Anyway, I haven't forgotten about my blog. I haven't been purposely neglecting it, either. We moved, so I haven't been doing much any cooking lately. So... enough with the excuses and onto the good stuff.

Every year, like virtually every other Minnesotan I know, we wade through the crowd to go to the great... no, food fest... no... celebration of deep fried wonderment on a stick that is the Minnesota State Fair. If you add the attendance numbers together from each day of the fair (ignoring that many people go more than once), I think more people attend than actually live in the state.
People don't go to the fair for much other than the food. Sure, there are the animal barns where the outstate folk can show off their prize-winning pigs/cows/chickens/gigantic turkeys, and the city folk can actually see what a pig/cow/chicken/gigantic turkey looks like... but that's really just something you do in between the various food items.

Everyone has their favorites that they repeat over and over (unfortunately for me, mine are so far favorites that I crave them year-round, so once it's fair time, I am so hungry for them that I don't feel like I can cut anything out to try the newest hot dish on a stick or macaroni and cheese on a stick or whatever they manage to fry and put on a stick that particular year). My favorite is, by far, the Pronto Pup.

Cue the angel choir music...

To be completely clear: a pronto pup is not the same thing as a corn dog. I cannot stress this enough. Sure, it's a deep fried, breaded hot dog on a stick, but it's so much better than a corn dog. See, the difference is that the batter on a pronto pup is made from wheat, not cornmeal. In my experience, the coating is quite a bit thinner than a corn dog breading, and much more crispy on the outside. In short, they're the best. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the actual pup because by the time we made it through the line and got ours, we were far too hungry to bother with pictures.

Later, I did take a picture of one of the booths to show you how incredibly popular they are. The line was actually about twice this long, but you get the picture.

Unfortunately (but somewhat amusing-ly), the closest open place to the pronto pup stand to actually sit down and eat said pronto pup faced us directly looking toward this:

In case you can't see, the guy in the middle with the gray hair is Norm himself.

We thought about heckling, but decided against it.

The next major food item on the list is Luigi Fries. My husband loves these. Basically, they're breadsticks topped with melted cheese, dipped in marinara. They're good, but I think you probably get the picture just by description.

Next, the grilled corn on the cob. I know what you're thinking: what's so special about corn on the cob? In truth, nothing. It's just really, really good. It has the perfect charcoal grill flavor, and they give it to you just after being dipped in a huge vat of melted butter. The whole area smells like roasted corn.... it's an event, really.

See, don't we look like we're enjoying ourselves?

Next, there are mini doughnuts. There are two different brands of mini donuts at the fair, and people argue over whether Tom Thumb or Tiny Tim (or whatever that other brand actually is called) is the better mini donut. My in-laws swear that Tom Thumb is better, so for some reason we just sort of gravitate toward one of those stands. They're really yummy, but unfortunately, you can only eat about 5 of them before you start to feel like a mini donut yourself.

In the meantime, you walk around and check out the baby animals, like this super cute baby goat and two-day-old baby pigs, and make coo-ey sounds over them.

Now say it with me - awwwwww....

Next is a Minnesota original (or so I'm told): the deep fried cheese curd.

Again, there probably isn't anything particularly extraordinary about these things. They're just really good. And really, how could they not be? They're just little bits of lightly battered, deep fried cheese. The end result is a glob of cheese, batter, and grease. The first bite is heaven. The second bite is good. Third bite... still pretty good. The fourth bite.... well, let's just say you feel like you're going to die.

But, you can't die. There's still cookies to eat!

Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar has been around for 30 years or so, and everyone goes crazy for these cookies. They're always served hot, right out of the oven delicious.

In case you're worried for our health, we're still working on polishing off the bucket.

And then, you get back on the shuttle bus to your designated park & ride area and collapse.


Ms. Foodie said...

Is it wrong that I think those pigs look like they are cooking? Ha!

Jen said...

I haven't posted my state fair pics yet. I need to. We didn't get to try the cheese curds or the cookies. Grrrrr!!! But we get to try the pig lickers. I wasn't impressed. Is it sad that I actually was there for the animals more than the food? LOL