You don't win friends with salad
July 22, 2013 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Iowa State Fair officials have announced 10 new food options for the 2013 fair, in addition to the eight announced earlier this month. These include maple bacon funnel cake and deep fried prairie oysters, and join old favorites including deep fried butter on a stick, pork chop on a stick, and over 60 other foods (on a stick).

Due to the lack of a forthcoming US election with the attendant primaries and Ames straw poll, samplers of finest Iowa cuisine will this year be able to move about the food stands unencumbered by vehicles and people of a political persuasion.
posted by Wordshore (130 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
I want all these things!!!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:23 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Those seem pretty tame and rather normal compared to Texas, but most things do.
posted by planetesimal at 12:25 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


What the fuck is salad on a stick, America.
posted by elizardbits at 12:27 PM on July 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


As it is Iowa and since I'm unable to resist the temptation of fried foods do I get to sexually harrass them?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:27 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ugh. I never want to go to another State Fair in the midwest. They're absurd.

Yeah, yeah, I'm sure all of you people who grew up here love 'em and have emotional attachments to that god-awful food, but still.
posted by entropone at 12:28 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also why isn't there deep-fried ranch dressing on a stick?
posted by elizardbits at 12:28 PM on July 22, 2013 [13 favorites]


Deep-fried butter on a stick???!!! What is there to like about that? Sounds gross.
posted by michellenoel at 12:29 PM on July 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also why isn't there deep-fried ranch dressing on a stick?

What would you dip that in?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:29 PM on July 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


Also why isn't there deep-fried ranch dressing on a stick?

AHHHH I WANT THAT NOW TOO
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:29 PM on July 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


I like the fairs with the livestock, you get to see so many fancy chickens and speckled pigs for sale.
posted by The Whelk at 12:29 PM on July 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


I never want to go to another State Fair in the midwest. They're absurd.

It's not just a midwest thing. At my local, SoCal county fair, we had turkey legs wrapped in bacon, fried oreos, fried Kool-Aid, and a ridiculous assortment of other silly things.
posted by LionIndex at 12:30 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


you get to see so many fancy chickens and speckled pigs for sale...

...and then eat them fried on a stick.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:30 PM on July 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


What would you dip that in?

BBQ sauce.
posted by tracknode at 12:31 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Deep-fried butter on a stick???!!! What is there to like about that? Sounds gross.

It's just a shock thing. The place at my fair that had that also had a bacon-wrapped version, and the marquee for the stand had a picture of a person in doctor's scrubs holding a defibrilator in a look of amazement.
posted by LionIndex at 12:32 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Only 10 new items? Minnesota will have 40 this year including the dough-sant, deep fried olives, and bacon wrapped grilled shrimp on a stick.
posted by Area Man at 12:33 PM on July 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Whelk: "I like the fairs with the livestock, you get to see so many fancy chickens and speckled pigs for sale."

David Foster Wallace (pdf, sorry) wrote at length about the two side of the state fairs. There's the side with the midway, rides and crazy food, and then there's the other side: cattle, poultry, swine and whatnot.
posted by jquinby at 12:33 PM on July 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


What would you dip that in?

Butter.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:33 PM on July 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


you can find items like "Rib Shack Cowboy", a mix of cowboy beans, brisket or pork, cole slaw, a signature chip and barbeque sauce in a spice-flavored waffle cone, on the "healthy choices" menu.

although to be fair, there are some items on the healthy choices menu that are actually healthy. but still.
posted by rude.boy at 12:35 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Deep-fried butter on a stick???!!! What is there to like about that? Sounds gross.

What's there to not like about butter? Sometimes (rarely) I put a 1/4" thick slab of butter on toast. The toast is just an excuse.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:36 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Deep-fried butter on a stick???!!! What is there to like about that? Sounds gross.

It's just a shock thing. The place at my fair that had that also had a bacon-wrapped version, and the marquee for the stand had a picture of a person in doctor's scrubs holding a defibrilator in a look of amazement.


That's nothing, this year's South Carolina state fair will feature a beer-battered, bacon-wrapped Paula Deen sitting in a dunk tank over a vat of 400 degree hydrogentated palm oil.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:38 PM on July 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


God bless Iowa and its state fair.

The little county fairs are great if you want to check out animals up close. I once went to one where one of the awards they gave was "goat with prettiest face." That might be a normal thing, I don't know. You can see the animals at the actual state fair also, but it's almost more fun to see it at one of the county ones; kind of like the appeal of seeing a minor league baseball game.

The best thing I ate at the Iowa State Fair was chocolate covered bacon, being peddled by a guy out of a cooler across the street from the fairgrounds.

Iowa is God's own country.
posted by dismas at 12:40 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


The "food on a stick" shtick has been pretty thoroughly investigated by the Minnesota State Fair, but I am glad to see it is starting to take over the world.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:40 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh man wait I forgot the best thing about fairs, Lumberjack games - because shirtless guys throwing axes at things are a joy forever.
posted by The Whelk at 12:42 PM on July 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


Still waiting for deep-fried gravy on a stick.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:42 PM on July 22, 2013


a beer-battered, bacon-wrapped Paula Deen sitting in a dunk tank over a vat of 400 degree hydrogentated palm oil.

Today I learned that state fair slashfic is a real thing.
posted by planetesimal at 12:43 PM on July 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


What the fuck is salad on a stick, America?

The only way America will eat salad, apparently, elizardbits?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:45 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is Garrison Keilor featured in the slash fic? He's always yapping about state fairs.
posted by Area Man at 12:46 PM on July 22, 2013


I have consumed the deep-fried butter on a stick. My fiancee holding one at the 2011 state fair. It tastes sweet, not fatty; the butter melts inside. We could only finish one between the two of us.

As an Englishman who detests the pathetically tiny portions of his birth country, I'm excited to move to the USA and sample Real Food for Real People. The best thing at the state fair were the eight dollar turkey legs. This picture doesn't really give an idea of the almost impossible size of it, as it needed both hands to be held comfortably. A great meal, though I would not like to meet the turkey it came from in a dark alley at night. Even with one of its legs missing.

Alligator wrestling, camper homes so wide they had fake fireplaces, and photographing the courtship rituals of Iowa citizens. What a day. Man, Iowa has to be the greatest state in the greatest country. I'm sold.
posted by Wordshore at 12:49 PM on July 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


Today I learned that state fair slashfic is a real thing.

Dude, strapping lumberjacks, throwing. axes. at. things. from. far. away.
posted by The Whelk at 12:50 PM on July 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also why isn't there deep-fried ranch dressing on a stick?

> What would you dip that in?


A tub of pureed buffalo wings.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:51 PM on July 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


deep fried olives

Black Sheep in Jacksonville makes deep fried olives stuffed with pimento cheese and they are probably in my top three bar snacks. This is a high honor, I eat a lot of bar snacks.
posted by troika at 12:51 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


deep fried butter on a stick

Pretty sure that was a whole stick of butter on that stick in the video. Words fail me.

I have nothing against fried foods (we trend towards fried seafood up here in New England), but too much of it gives me a horrible headache that just won't go away. I can't fry too frequently in the house because the smell lingers and I feel awful for days.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:52 PM on July 22, 2013


So my understanding is that Iowa is immigrant-central thanks to the meat-packing and agricultural sectors. Except for the "Jalapeno Cheese Corndog" I don't see anything that could potentially seem like it came from "South of the Border."(TM) Too controversial? Does fried food need immigration papers? Has the potential for broad-based immigration reform been stalled by lack of chile rellenos and DEEP FRIED TAMALES?

OK I'm getting a bit worked up. Walk it off walk it off.

P.S. I believe the Hawaii State Farm Fair has offered deep-fried spam musubi in years past...
posted by spamandkimchi at 12:56 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I never want to go to another State Fair in the midwest. They're absurd.

If you think the Iowa State Fair is absurd, you should visit the Oregon Country Fair...
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:57 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Today I learned that state fair slashfic is a real thing.

Oh god. Considering that my memories of the Iowa State Fair are mostly the butter sculpture and milking cows, my mind went to Do Not Want places with this.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:58 PM on July 22, 2013


Only 10 new items? Minnesota will have 40 this year including the dough-sant, deep fried olives, and bacon wrapped grilled shrimp on a stick.
posted by Area Man at 2:33 PM on July 22


Oh? 10 new items, Iowa? How quaint. Would you like to look over our list of 40 new items?
posted by elmer benson at 1:01 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


We're right in the middle of the California State Fair in Sacramento. It really is Big Fun; totally worth going. Here's some of the food picks. Eggroll on a stick is the signature stick-based food item of the California State Fair. OTOH "Cheese Fries Bucket" offers a lot of promise. Eating fried butter always seemed an exercise in dripping frustration; the bucket form factor is more suitable for holding large quantities of fat based sauces.
posted by Nelson at 1:04 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


The NY State fair is ridiculous. Syracuse! It might as well be in Canada!
posted by elizardbits at 1:06 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's not just a midwest thing. At my local, SoCal county fair, we had turkey legs wrapped in bacon, fried oreos, fried Kool-Aid, and a ridiculous assortment of other silly things.

LA County Fair Commercial
posted by hal_c_on at 1:07 PM on July 22, 2013


If you think the Iowa State Fair is absurd, you should visit the Oregon Country Fair...

How is there an Oregon County Fair? Oregon is a state, not a county. DAMN IT WEST COAST GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER.

To the topic at hand, I love state fairs, but I feel like all the focus on novelty fried foods is taking away from what they're really about: mediocre rides, that world's largest crocodile that looks like it's made of concrete, and performances by the Charlie Daniels Band. Fried food is important, but it should be sensible stuff, like corn dogs and elephant ears. That's the fair as it was meant to be.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:07 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Area Man and elmer benson, I've just experienced spontaneous failure of my gallbladder just from looking at those pictures. Seriously, my bile duct immediately snapped shut and said Nope Nope Nope Nope even though my mouth was all getting geared up for a saliva shower.
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:07 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


fried Kool-Aid

I have read through all the comments so far, and even the butter-on-a-stick has not quite banished the images this raises. I must know: how the heck do you fry Kool-Aid?
posted by thomas j wise at 1:07 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


ok but I think I still don't get it - so you have a batter shell filled with melted butter - doesn't the butter just all run out as soon as you bite into it? so it's like juggling a hot oil shooter? I mean, it sounds gross, but it also sounds impossible to actually eat without being covered in melted butter. or is that the point? like, once they get you greased up you are chased through the fair and must attempt to slip away?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:10 PM on July 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


I once invented a deep fried salad food. Basically it was breaded balls of iceburg that had frozen balls of ranch dressing in the middle, deep fried golden brown and served on a plate. The slogan was "Salad with balls"

I've been working on a soup on a stick concept for a while, but the best I can come up with is little more then a Hot Pocket on a stick. Dripping is too big an issue if you try something thinner then a stew, inside of dumpling, on a stick. Someday I'll break the code.
posted by mediocre at 1:11 PM on July 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Pork chop on a stick seemed pretty reasonable by comparison to deep fried butter on a stick. Then I saw the pictures. They're huge! Could I get mine with a plate on a stick and a knife and fork on a stick please?
posted by Hoopo at 1:12 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


The melted butter seemed to be largely absorbed by the inner batter, which was kinda spongy. No drip, or maybe we just got lucky. It was amusing watching people bite into theirs, look inside it and go "Huh? It's hollow? Where did the stick of butter go?"
posted by Wordshore at 1:13 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


doesn't the butter just all run out as soon as you bite into it?

American flag napkins are provided free of charge, just as God intended.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:15 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


oh god I just looked up what a prairie oyster is.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:15 PM on July 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


a soup on a stick concept

oooh, like a fried tang bao? You can do this, I believe in you.
posted by troika at 1:16 PM on July 22, 2013


how the heck do you fry Kool-Aid?

They use Kool-Aid as the liquid in funnel cake batter.
posted by briank at 1:16 PM on July 22, 2013


I've had deep-fried Kool-Aid (not on a stick) before; what it ended up being, basically, was a tray of doughballs colored a deep red by adding a lot of powdered Kool-Aid to the batter, and then served with a heavy dusting of powdered sugar. So, basically: Ultra tart, slightly plasticky-tasting donut holes.
posted by ardgedee at 1:18 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


oh god I just looked up what a prairie oyster is.

You know what the weirdest part is? When you try one, they taste just like you'd expect them to.
posted by Aizkolari at 1:21 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


If it's not gorgonzola inside your fried olives, you're doing it wrong.
posted by emelenjr at 1:26 PM on July 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


DAMN IT WEST COAST GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER.

CountRy Fair, wholly different beast. Think Burning Man, but on a much smaller scale and exclusively inhabited by aging OG hippies and assorted face painted pot leaf shirted college freshpeople. I used to go every year with my friend, whose dad ran a concession stand. Only people who are working there in some fashion are allowed to camp, and the fun doesn't even begin until closing time. I don't know why anyone would even go if they can't camp.
posted by mediocre at 1:26 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


How is there an Oregon County Fair? Oregon is a state, not a county. DAMN IT WEST COAST GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER.

It is actually the Oregon Country Fair. It is out in the middle of nowhere outside Veneta. It is where we went in High School to stock up on LSD.
posted by johnpowell at 1:27 PM on July 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh, apparently I'm not so good at reading. That makes a lot more sense.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:29 PM on July 22, 2013


I wish I had the ability right now to go track down my photos of the "Bacon Booth" at the CA state fair right now. EVERYTHING WRAPPED IN BACON!
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:31 PM on July 22, 2013


Poor Dibbler would cut his own throat when he saw how much competition he had.
posted by kmz at 1:32 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


....and that's cutting their own throats?
posted by zarq at 1:33 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


So for the closing weekend of the Illinois State Fair this year, the main grandstand concert is Ke$ha on Saturday and Journey and Night Ranger on Sunday. This is like the food equivalent of this.

(meaning: Fuck you and your judgement, I'm going to eat/listen anyway.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:35 PM on July 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Remember, people, if you're trying to do the Iowa State Fair in one day, this is all just fuel for an endurance event. This is doubly true if you go with my mother, who insists on arriving before 6 a.m. to get good parking and to go through the animal barns while there aren't many people there. You can see the early-morning show cows getting groomed and watch the sleepy farm kids on cots try to cover their heads with their blankets and get a few more minutes of sleep despite the noise and lights. Bonus: there's no line to see the giant boar or the super bull at 6:00. Negative: There's no city parents awkwardly explaining the boar's giant balls at that time of day, either.

That early, there's only a couple of choices for breakfast--giant cinnamon rolls or a couple of diner-style places with bad coffee. The line for the cinnamon rolls is longer, but you need some protein, so bacon-up at one of the diner tents.

Next up are the gardens outside the Ag building. The building opens at 9, and if you want to see the butter cow and whatever other themed sculpture there is that year, be standing in line when they open the building. People stand in line a god-awful amount of time in this building for a pic of the cow and then for tiny samples of various meat and egg dishes, but they aren't worth it. Up next is the Cultural Center, which you also want to get through before it gets too hot and too crowded if you want to take some time looking at photography and woodworking exhibits. Buy some pottery or barbed wire art, but let them hold it until you're ready to leave. Just remember to go pick it up at the end of the day.

It's probably a little after 10 by now, so it's time to refuel with a fresh, hot corndog. Or if it's after 10:30, go get in line for a Turkey Federation turkey leg. Ride one of the shuttles around while you gnaw on that for a while and prioritize the rest of your day. Ride through the campground and wonder how the heck they squish that many campers in on such a hilly plot of land.

Varied Industries and the 4-H building are good for the afternoon when the heat sets in. Pioneer Hall gets hot, so hit it in the morning, too, unless there's a fiddle competition or nail driving contest you want to see later on. Heck--sign up for the nail driving contest and get yourself a participation ribbon if you're there on the right day. Pioneer Hall has some good lemonade, too.

Hit up the Iowa Craft Beer Tent, too, and buy a bunch of sample-sized beers. They go well with that aforementioned pork chop on a stick (which will spoil you for most other pork chops for the rest of your life).

If you need to sit for a while, it's fun to get a milkshake just outside the dairy barn, sit on a curb, and watch people try to avoid all the animal poo in the street. The people with the SUV-sized strollers are the best to watch. I've seen more than one mom nearly dump her kids into the street trying to avoid a pile of poo at the last second. Or go watch a checkers tournament at the Administration Building. Or get some chilled watermelon near the bottom of the Giant Slide and chill out while watching kids learn just how hot a big metal slide can get in the sun.

Every year, there's new food, but the old standbys are the best. No, you won't get to cast your vote for a presidential candidate with a kernel of field corn this year, but you can still get your corn dog.
posted by BlooPen at 1:36 PM on July 22, 2013 [34 favorites]


Fried olives actually sound really tasty. The salty/sharpness of the olives would help cut through the heaviness of the fried dough.
posted by Karmakaze at 1:41 PM on July 22, 2013


Dying during sex is passe. I want my heart to explode at a state fair eating something deep-fried.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:41 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


That was....

*picks jaw off the floor* Nice flicker set, Wordshore.

So funnel cake is basically a big red jalebi. Good to know.

Other things useful to know:
salad on a stick is what they call a vegetarian kebab in my village.
DON'T ORDER THE CHICKEN SALAD IF YOU WANT ANY SALAD.

I'm not understanding the boiled eggs on a stick. But the tiny horses were amazing. Also, now I have found my dream dwelling. Even though the one with Captain Kirk things in was a close second. And wow, thanks for that glimpse into elsewhere - good pics.
posted by glasseyes at 1:43 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Black Sheep in Jacksonville makes deep fried olives stuffed with pimento cheese and they are probably in my top three bar snacks

Few things fly higher than deep-fried cheese.
posted by glasseyes at 1:44 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't much care for olives, but I'm pretty sure I'd eat my own mother if you stuffed her with pimento cheese and fried her.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:50 PM on July 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


See? More slashfic!
posted by planetesimal at 1:52 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Kind of want to go to a fair just to see those plushy cows.
posted by longdaysjourney at 1:54 PM on July 22, 2013


No. You steer (away from the cow barns) and get many deep fried cheese curds. Because they do not taste as good if they are not flung down a table by a scowling overheated teen in the food building. You will have part of one serving knocked out of your hands because it is too crowded, but you wanted more anyways. So you wade back in for more. Then you explore the fair for a while. Then you get get what would be an entirely too large bucket of searing hot cookies, from people who do not want to be serving searingly hot cookies into a bucket that is not made of ice. then you go to the all you can drink milk booth. because it goes well with cookies. and you cannot waste milk/cookies/cheese curds so you wander over to walk the animal barns where the smells remind you that vomiting would actually in retrospect spoil the mood over everything involved, plus you sort of want funnel cake. then you walk it off and at that point deep fried "new thing" sounds like something to do. can't be worse right? it's new an all that!
posted by jeribus at 2:00 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've had deep-fried Kool-Aid (not on a stick) before; what it ended up being, basically, was a tray of doughballs colored a deep red by adding a lot of powdered Kool-Aid to the batter, and then served with a heavy dusting of powdered sugar. So, basically: Ultra tart, slightly plasticky-tasting donut holes.

This was pretty much my experience, but my wife and I enjoyed them. The same place that sold those also has a chicken sandwich that uses Krispy Kreme donut halves instead of bread, the fried oreos, fried girl scout cookies, and had deep fried Klondike bars one year (verdict: no).

We've also had red velvet funnel cake at the fair, which we have to split because it's so sweet.
posted by LionIndex at 2:10 PM on July 22, 2013


...the food building...

This right here is one of the biggest reasons that I didn't like the MN state fair as much as Iowa's. Vats of fryer oil should be in little booths scattered throughout the great outdoors where a little window AC in the booth can help those overheated teens stay just a bit cooler and where you, the patron, can get just a little burst of that AC when it's your turn at the front of the line.
posted by BlooPen at 2:18 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


We have it both ways: a food building and scattered booths.
posted by Area Man at 2:24 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the California State Fair: Big Beef Rib (24-ounce steak on a 17-inch cow’s rib)

Is that like $30 or something?
posted by sourwookie at 2:32 PM on July 22, 2013


My go-to festival food is the turkey leg. An indulgent treat, yet not deep-fried and dairyless. I'm satisfied when I'm done, yet don't feel like I've overdone it.
posted by sourwookie at 2:41 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


deep fried olives stuffed with pimento cheese

I have rarely had my mouth actually water, but that did it.

Bizarrely, I have never been to the Texas State Fair, but it's on my list, probably for next year.
posted by immlass at 2:46 PM on July 22, 2013


what's pimento cheese? I just had a couple olives stuffed with blue cheese and garlic at lunch, and let me tell you if you ever wanted to have a quiet afternoon at the office with no interruptions...everyone will leave you alone with that on your breath.
posted by Hoopo at 2:49 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hoopo, I'm guessing you're familiar with "pimento loaf" lunchmeat? Same thing, but the suspension matrix is cheese instead of meat.
posted by LionIndex at 2:54 PM on July 22, 2013


I never want to go to another State Fair in the midwest. They're absurd.

I, uh, notice you don't provide a local for where you live. I assume it's perfect-ville, right next to We're-better-than-flyover-stan?


Now, having said that. Those State and County fairs are fun, but I've always assumed they are outright trying to kill you, or at least shorten your lifespan, with the food. good lord.
posted by edgeways at 2:57 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Pimento Cheese" is actually a spread/filling made of grated cheese, mayo, pimentos, and seasoning. Think tuna salad but with shredded cheddar instead of tuna.

And it is awesome on toasted white.
posted by sourwookie at 2:57 PM on July 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I guess that's sort of right; pimento cheese is made by mixing shredded cheese (preferably sharp cheddar) with mayonnaise (preferably Duke's) and diced pimentos. The result is an orange goo with bits of pimento in it that is absolutely heavenly, no matter how it looks.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:58 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


sourwookie: "And it is awesome on toasted white."

Or a cheeseburger. Testify!
posted by jquinby at 3:01 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had deep fried macaroni and cheese at the Dane County Fair yesterday. But if you want it on a stick, you have to go to the Wisconsin State Fair. There's a hierarchy to these things.
posted by escabeche at 3:08 PM on July 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


From the California State Fair: Big Beef Rib (24-ounce steak on a 17-inch cow’s rib)

Is that like $30 or something?


It's free, but you have to get it at the drive-in in your foot-powered car.
posted by Etrigan at 3:37 PM on July 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


So I guess my next question is: has anyone just dropped the olive and made deep fried battered pimento cheese? because if not, dibs.
posted by Hoopo at 3:39 PM on July 22, 2013


I realize that my lack of self-control is my own fault, but if I end up bringing home pimento cheese from the store tonight, I'm blaming y'all when I get a WTF response when it is found in the fridge.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:41 PM on July 22, 2013


This post needs a Not Safe For Hungry People label. Only if you have recently eaten a (mostly) healthy meal it is safe to read it.
posted by bukvich at 3:54 PM on July 22, 2013


oh god I just looked up what a prairie oyster is.

You know what the weirdest part is? When you try one, they taste just like you'd expect them to.


Actually, you never want to purchase them. Oyster frying is an art, and the oysters have to go straight from point of origin to the pan. This means using the same propane tank for the fry pan that you used to heat the irons up for branding. Slice the center, peel back the membranes, then remember to soak in salt water for 1/2 hour. Dredge in seasoned flour and fry in bacon grease. Pretty yummy after a cold spring day of working the catch pen gate.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:56 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


'Cotton Candy. The wise pharaoh of food. Sittin' atop the food pyramid, passin' judgment on all lesser foods'
posted by Smedleyman at 3:59 PM on July 22, 2013


I realize that my lack of self-control is my own fault, but if I end up bringing home pimento cheese from the store tonight, I'm blaming y'all when I get a WTF response when it is found in the fridge.

Don't do it! Store bought is made with low grade American Cheese--and it's too thin! Buy an 8oz bag shredded Sharp Chedder and a little jar of pimentos. At home just mix it with mayo and mustard and add some s&p. So much better than the stuff from a tub and it takes all of 30 seconds.
posted by sourwookie at 4:10 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought deep-fried salad was called tempura. I've never had it on a stick, but I've had it between two.
posted by darksasami at 4:10 PM on July 22, 2013


tempura just refers to the batter and frying, I think. You can put things other than vegetables in tempura. Tempura shrimp, squid, crab, and fish is quite common.
posted by Hoopo at 4:31 PM on July 22, 2013


Olive ascolane, you guys. (Or with cheese. Or just fried. So, so good. Especially with gin.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:03 PM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


The "food on a stick" shtick has been pretty thoroughly investigated by the Minnesota State Fair...


So basically y'all are amateurs but it's cute that you try.

WE WILL DEEP FRY ALL OF THE THINGS AND PUT THEM ON STICKS AND THEN WE WILL DEEP FRY THE STICKS AND ALSO HERE IS A HUGE BUCKET OF COOKIES. STATE FAIR! GRRRAAAHHHH!

and plus we've got cat videos too take that
posted by louche mustachio at 5:17 PM on July 22, 2013


Actually, you never want to purchase them

why did you just put those images in my head
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:38 PM on July 22, 2013


BlueHorse: "Actually, you never want to purchase them. Oyster frying is an art, and the oysters have to go straight from point of origin to the pan. This means using the same propane tank for the fry pan that you used to heat the irons up for branding. Slice the center, peel back the membranes, then remember to soak in salt water for 1/2 hour. Dredge in seasoned flour and fry in bacon grease. Pretty yummy after a cold spring day of working the catch pen gate."


ಠ_ಠ

Reminds me of a cnn article I read during the mad cow scare 10 years ago. They were interviewing people in some part of the country where fried cow brain sandwiches were a local favorite. They asked one woman if she would stop eating them, and she said she wouldn't let fear of mad cow deprive her life of joy.

Where joy = eating fried cow brain sandwiches.
posted by danny the boy at 6:20 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


what's pimento cheese?
NB: "pimento" is pronounced "pa-MEN-na"
posted by candyland at 6:28 PM on July 22, 2013


NB: "pimento" is pronounced "pa-MEN-na"

No, it's not.
posted by Stewriffic at 6:31 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know how you sometimes hear about efforts to encourage people to eat more insects for environmental and other reasons? Maybe they could be introduced at one of these state fairs. If people are willing to try fried butter on a stick, why not fried crickets?
posted by bookman117 at 6:45 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


bookman117: "If people are willing to try fried butter on a stick, why not fried crickets"

You mean chapulines? I've tried them, but they were out of baggie. My uncle worked with some Mexican dudes who gave him some and he brought them to a Sunday barbecue. I was OK with them until a leg caught in my throat and then the beer went down in vast quantities.
posted by jquinby at 7:06 PM on July 22, 2013


I understand that no one else in the great state of Minnesota agrees with me, but in my opinion: fried food at the state fair is a waste of space that should be filled with ice cream cones from the Dairy Barn. At least two giant ice cream cones per visit. Maybe three if you're there a long time.

(Plus you can check out the creepy butter sculptures while you're waiting for your ice cream. Efficiency!)
posted by gerstle at 8:12 PM on July 22, 2013


What would you dip that in?

Parsley.
posted by JHarris at 8:35 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dying during sex is passe. I want my heart to explode at a state fair eating something deep-fried.

When you die, your surroundings imprint themselves upon your escaping spirit and influence who you are in your next life.

I wouldn't want to die at the Iowa State Fair for fear I'd come back as Michele Bachmann.
posted by JHarris at 8:40 PM on July 22, 2013


I love love love fair food and our local fair sucks. They don't even have funnel cake! Their big thing is mini donuts, which to be fair, are nice when fresh, but they don't hold a candle to funnel cake.
posted by deborah at 9:59 PM on July 22, 2013


You think you've got problems. I'm in the Pacific NW, and it turns out the way you know you're in the Pacific NW is that the food carts at the fair sell pad thai. And it's neither deep-fried nor on a stick.
posted by darksasami at 10:05 PM on July 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


LA County fair has TEN POUND BUNS!!! It's a loaf of good bread, basically, which you can get by itself, but why would you when you can get the ten pound bun sliced in half, covered in cheese, and broiled? I hope they still do those, I haven't been back to the fair.

The Humboldt County fair is meh, apart from the potato decorating contests (diorama or single, adult or child divisions.)
posted by blnkfrnk at 10:25 PM on July 22, 2013


At the Cimmeria County Fair, lizard-on-a-stick was all the rage.

No word about having it wrapped in hyperborian boar-bacon or fried in stygian yak-butter.


. . . or the lamentations of their women.
posted by Herodios at 7:35 AM on July 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


"David Foster Wallace wrote at length"

SHOCKING
posted by Chrysostom at 8:00 AM on July 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Country fairs are great places to stuff your face with all-American bad-for-you food. They're also great places to peoplewatch or to test your claustrophobia/agoraphobia limits, take your pick.
posted by blucevalo at 9:22 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been waiting as a first time commenter for something that I knew enough about to not sound like an ass, and now here it is. And of course, it's about state fairs.

I had to check the website to see if Nitro Ice Cream was still around, and if they would be there. Those guys are from Iowa, and I'm glad to see they're still selling ice cream. And they will be at the 2013 Iowa State Fair.

I worked with them back in 2000-2001, when they worked the Tulsa State Fair. They were new to the fair circuit, and they need cheap help. I was in college and needed a stress free, easy way to make money for a short period of time. And so I was hired, not at all the bubbly, friendly kind of personality that they needed to sell ice cream and explain their schtick. They needed someone to stand there and yell at people walking by to come try the ice cream, to draw them in enough to buy a cup. Like the guys who have the microphone headsets and chop veggies all day with expensive knives. I was not a yeller. Or particularly friendly. But like drugs, ice cream sells itself, so me standing there limply offering tasting spoons to the crowd and mumbling "Hey, I have ice cream...doesn't your kid want some ice cream?" made me more than qualified.

The whole gimmick was this machine that these two guys had made in grad school. This machine froze the cream with liquid nitrogen, resulting in a smooth, ice crystal free ice cream. If I remember correctly, they were mechanical engineers and I don't think selling ice cream was the intended idea, perhaps just the most lucrative one in terms of a business. These guys were not much older than I was at the time, and they were really nice to work with. The machine attracted the attention of fair-goers because it was so loud, you put this bucket in a little compartment and when the thing started up, it would loudly shoot the ice cream out with the force of throwing a baseball in someone's face.

The machine also had a lot of blinking lights and complex looking buttons, which I thought were important features I didn't know how to operate for the first few days, and then learned they were just for appearance and to make the machine look more futuristic or such. I poked fun at their brochure and logo at the time, laid out entirely in comic-sans, a sin for a wanna-be graphic designer like myself. I still remember one of the guys impassioned response, borne of having to defend it multiple times. "Why do people hate comic-sans? It's happy, it's FUN."

Like I said, the guys were really nice to work with and they introduced me to a whole world intra-fair trade. Wearing my Nitro Ice Cream t-shirt (which I still have!) meant free strawberry shakes at the Shake Shack if I brought a cup over later. The headset wearing knife guy traded freshly chopped veggies for ice cream. The Avon ladies in the booth next door would pretty much give me anything for free as long as I traded in gossip, not ice cream. I got free fair admission, all the ice cream I could eat, and when my shift was over I could get friends in free to go see some awesomely washed-up bands (like Slaughter) play at night. I got to ride rides during break time. I got to meet the lady that sculpted the butter cow. I learned that the machine I helmed during the day could be adjusted to make liquid nitrogen frozen margaritas, as the guys did for their graduation party.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a huge fan of DFW's fair piece at the time, and that said piece was the biggest (if not the only) reason I took that job. But it was, and remains hands down one of the most fun and memorable jobs I've ever had. If there was a state fair near where I live now, I'd run that Nitro Ice Cream booth for free, just for the good times I know it would bring me.
posted by pandalicious at 9:36 AM on July 23, 2013 [71 favorites]


blnkfrnk just blew my mind. Humboldt's fair has potato decorating contests (diorama or single, adult or child divisions)?!?!!

I have been waiting my whole life. For a while in my twenties I tried to branch out into parsnip tableaus but I always came back to the potato diorama.
posted by spamandkimchi at 10:11 AM on July 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Their list of healthy choices is pretty hilarious to me. Among the healthy options are:

Rib Shack Cowboy, a mix of cowboy beans, brisket or pork, cole slaw, a signature chip and barbeque sauce in a spice-flavored waffle cone, at the Rib Shack

Shrimp Corndog, three fresh shrimp dipped in corndog batter, fried to golden perfection and topped with a sweet jalapeno glaze, at the Po Boy Stand (Rock Island Avenue)

Dried fruit log at the Iowa Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association


Alright, now I'm just confused. What the hell is a dried fruit log?
posted by inertia at 12:12 PM on July 23, 2013


Twenty bucks, same as in town.
posted by Etrigan at 12:42 PM on July 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Twenty bucks, same as in town.

I don't think so--stuff's always more expensive at the Fair.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:41 PM on July 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


So my understanding is that Iowa is immigrant-central thanks to the meat-packing and agricultural sectors.

I'm afraid your understanding is a little off. A handful of Iowa small towns that are home to meat-packing plants have become places with notable immigrant minorities. But as a whole, the immigrant population is only 4% of Iowa's total, and 5% of residents are Hispanic. Iowa still ranks among the top 15 most white-bread states in the Union.
posted by drlith at 4:39 AM on July 25, 2013


I feel like that pockets of Iowa that aren't white bread stick out because it's so unexpected -- especially to those of us from traditionally white bread areas. Like "why am I getting such good Mexican food in a sleepy corn town of 800 people?" as I learned when I was canvassing during the presidential caucus.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:23 AM on July 25, 2013


Also why isn't there deep-fried ranch dressing on a stick?

So I made this tonight! I put a dollop of ranch dressing on Saran Wrap, and put it in the freezer. After an hour or so, I took it out, dipped it in some flour/egg-wash/flour, then stuck it back in the freezer for like an hour.

I got the oil up to about 400 F, then threw it in there.

It didn't quite brown in the time I gave it; I pulled it out after just 1-2 minutes, since the batter was starting to flake off, and the gooey ranch inside was beginning to leak out. I think the next time I try this, I'd freeze it longer first, then do a couple of layers of batter rather than just one. I'd also probably add a little flour to the ranch itself for structural integrity.

The taste was sour and zesty, expectedly. I doubt I could eat a bunch of these, but certainly a plate of like 5, if I were at a fair. And I do think that buffalo sauce would be the best condiment for it, or maybe remoulade; it coulda used a little heat.

Overall, not too bad, and I expect someone will actually sell this within my lifetime, because AMERICA
posted by Greg Nog at 7:26 PM on August 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


cryingeagle.gif
posted by elizardbits at 8:17 PM on August 7, 2013


Greg Nog, you might have better luck with a fluffy wet batter like tempura or beer batter, which I think would have better insulating properties. In fact, I'm pretty sure deep fried ranch dressing on a stick is screaming out for the beer-batter treatment.
posted by drlith at 6:19 AM on August 8, 2013


The words 'hero' and 'patriot' get thrown around a lot, such that they have lost a lot of their value. But, Greg Nog, you are truly both a hero and patriot.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:45 AM on August 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


What if you added gelatin or agar to the ranch dressing? I am not sure how well it would thicken considering the high temperature of the fryer, but it might be worth a shot.
posted by inertia at 10:08 AM on August 8, 2013


Agree with drlith. You need a thicker batter.

Another option... since ranch dressing contains buttermilk, you may find the final product becomes more cohesive if you reduce it in a saucepan prior to frying.
posted by zarq at 12:23 PM on August 8, 2013


Greg Nog, though it wouldn't be just ranch dressing, you could hollow out a mozzarella stick (string cheese works fine), fill it with ranch, and then fry that. I've done it with Frank's and it turns out really well. And includes cheese.
posted by troika at 12:50 PM on August 8, 2013


though it wouldn't be just ranch dressing

Yeah, I was thinking about additions, too; when I made Paula Deen's deep-fried butter, I found I had much better luck enrobing the butter balls with a thin layer of hushpuppy batter before the final layer of flour/egg/crumb. Also, those keep their cohesiveness in part thanks to the addition of cream cheese. That might a good thickener for the ranch, too. Or perhaps even that ranch dressing powder stuff mixed directly into cream cheese, bypassing liquid ranch entirely.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:07 PM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


And to think they called you mad at the university.
posted by The Whelk at 1:12 PM on August 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Can you deep fry onion dip next? You know, for science?
posted by inertia at 1:34 PM on August 8, 2013


Greg Nog: "Yeah, I was thinking about additions, too; when I made Paula Deen's deep-fried butter, I found I had much better luck enrobing the butter balls with a thin layer of hushpuppy batter before the final layer of flour/egg/crumb. Also, those keep their cohesiveness in part thanks to the addition of cream cheese. That might a good thickener for the ranch, too. Or perhaps even that ranch dressing powder stuff mixed directly into cream cheese, bypassing liquid ranch entirely."

Only 9000 calories! :D
posted by zarq at 1:37 PM on August 8, 2013


In related news; the Iowa State Fair Butter Cow was vandalized a few days back; Iowans for Animal Liberation claimed responsibility. T-shirts for "Butter Cow Security" have since been selling quickly, at the fair and online.

The Onion has also run a few articles about the state fair, covering the allowed shooting of non-Iowan residents on sight, and the annual deep-frying of a virgin.

And there's a Facebook group for People of the Iowa State Fair...
posted by Wordshore at 10:25 AM on August 17, 2013




Yes, yes they are.

I'm particularly excited about the Dough-sant. That sounds like the sort of new food that could really take off. Even people in New York might like it.
posted by Area Man at 11:20 AM on August 22, 2013


COMET CORN

A futuristic caramel corn made with liquid nitrogen. This icy-cold popcorn is crispy, crunchy, sweet & salty and leaves a trail of comet dust when exhaled out of the nose and mouth, creating a tingly, bubbly feeling.

posted by Greg Nog at 11:34 AM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


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