Laughter, abundance, and the pickle dawg
At least once a week, well into our "empty nest" period, my late wife would remind me that she had cooked everything she ever wanted to, so we were eating dinner elsewhere.
I loved reading this - especially because, just like the gas station food essay you wrote, I'm sort of on the outside looking in being kosher-observant with no idea how to mentally process cream cheese fried on meat.
I'm just going to say that there is a classic rabbinic conversation about whether it is better to be indifferent to not-kosher food or to be really enticed but have the commitment to refrain. And I am not sure where I stand on spicy pickle dogs.
Just read your essay on apples for the first time and love it for so many reasons. Thanks for putting that link there today. Also love reading about Fair Food, and I love the Iowa State Fair, but walleye on a stick at the MN fair is my all time favorite fair food.
Bonus points for a Mikhail Bakhtin reference, not to mention the aptest one I’ve seen since college.
This is great and makes me wish I’d eaten a lot more when I was at the fair a few years ago.
The surreal and the novel is absolutely a core part of midway food. The Calgary Stampede has ended, but they still have up the section of the website where they list the wild options available, all of which capture perfectly the breadth of what can be found at a State fair: https://www.calgarystampede.com/new-midway-food
It's a real fascinating thing to scroll through and yes, it evokes delight, curiosity, and disgust. According to reviews, the $100 hot dog was really more of a $40 hotdog.
Loved this. Going to the Humboldt County (CA) fair on Saturday and looking forward to my annual quota of fried yummies.
The best fair food I have ever eaten was a pork chop on a stick at the Iowa State Fair. My friends wanted me to try the fried oreo but I was good with my pork!
I grew up in Ohio near Cleveland so the Cuyahoga county fair was the best. I always loved cotton candy- the sticky mess that melted on your fingers on the way to your mouth. And it’s a summer event. We live in Florida now (don’t judge) so the concept of a state fair in February? Nope.
Honestly, I'm afraid to eat fair food because I worry about any food that sits out in the heat. I used to make an exception for Bumbershoot and Bite of Seattle when I lived up north. I think now it's more about too many people all in one place.
I didn't get married until I was 41, and I was never a regular meal-time person. My husband isn't either - he will throw 8 things together in a bowl and call it a salad, even if none of the things is a fresh vegetable. Only on occasion has he asked if I'm making anything for dinner, and it is more of an information-gathering question so he can proceed with another one of his "salads". This is a lovely contrast to my first serious, live-together boyfriend who expected me to cook, clean, do laundry, and work full-time. Like an idiot, I used to give him my paycheck to cover bills. I rarely had any money left over - pretty sure I was funding the whole operation.
I live in California now - but it was in Ohio they knew how to do a fair. My favorite ride is the Ferris wheel (which I thought was so named because it was often at a fair - FAIR-iss)
I confess that I haven't been to a State Fair in decades. However, I remember the Oregon, Illinois "state" fair and the caramel apples (we are talking mid 50's). The rides were the attraction to me as a child-food was a distant third after trying my hardest to win a stuffed animal. Nostalgia.
I'm lucky that my local fair provides free admission when you attend a concert. I ended up with a jumbo corn dog.
For even more on corn (but not the sweet stuff), I found the movie "King Corn" to be fascinating
Corn dogs - my all time fair favorite. Add some mustard. It’s just big enough to be a treat, but small enough to not be illegal, immoral, nor too fattening. I will bet one could even make kosher corn dogs!