My stop in Minnesota was so delicious. My uncle and aunt brought me to the Minnesota State Fair, which I’m told wins distinction as America’s largest state fair, officially because of the number of attendees but probably due partly to the size of its food portions. Admittedly, I’d never been to such a large fair before, but I was completely naïve of the array of foods-on-a-stick available. We’ve graduated from corndogs and shish kabobs, folks. Ever had a hankering for cheesecake-on-a-stick? Hamburger-on-a-stick? Banana-split-on-a-stick? How about an uffda (as in the Norwegian expression of overwhelm) treat-on-a-stick? I tried only the pork-chop-on-a-stick, and it was lovely and delicious. And so little waste, too. Although not as little, I’m told, as the chocolate coated bacon, which is its own stick. I didn’t have the courage for that one, I’m afraid.
If food-on-a-stick isn’t your thing, then maybe deep fried goodness is more up your alley. The Spam tent was selling deep fried Spam curds, Twinkies (further) battered and fried were on sale, and the traditional deep fried breaded cheese curds got their own special in the weekend paper. It only takes 12 miles to walk off the calories of those bad boys. Ah sweet gluttony!
This was the second fair of the trip for me since my cousin Shannon and I also visited the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden. While the Washington fair was a clear celebration of the region’s agricultural heritage, Minnesota’s was more broadly statriotic. There was a building with education and government displays, a police dog demonstration to go along with the 4-H shows, and a tent dedicated to the Minnesota Twins (whom I have not yet forgiven for last season!). While the Lynden fair was “a recognition of our community’s values,” the attendees at the Minnesota State Fair just seemed to be looking for a good time.
Still, the agricultural origins of the fair were plenty apparent. For instance, in the dairy building, there were butter carvings of this year’s Dairy Princesses. Only two of the life-sized butter busts were completed yesterday, but there were 10 other blocks of creamy milk fat waiting to be brought to life, one for each day of the fair. It was exceptionally weird—and totally appropriate.
I’m still recovering from the gastronomic exercises I put my body through yesterday, but I don’t regret an ounce of it.