Welcome to Minnesota!

Sorry for the hiatus on the posts, but I've just returned from a whirlwind weekend in food mecca Minneapolis. Seriously. I had the good fortune to eat at the truly fantastic 112 Eatery , which could not only hold it's own in New York, but it'd give some other joints the serious Smackdown Royale.

But I have to admit, as embarrassing as it may be, that the highlight of my Midwestern culinary journey was the Minnesota State Fair. I swear I'm not being facetious. First of all, it's really no wonder that there's an obesity epidemic in this country. Obesity is delicious. It is breaded and it is fried and it is on a stick.

For those as naive as I was about the cuisine of Minnesota's indigenous peoples, hotdish is a casserole. How they get the casserole to stay on the stick has undoubtedly kept our scientists busy for years. But now that the casserole is firmly on the stick, perhaps they will turn their attention towards that pesky cancer thing.

Not all the food at the Minnesota State Fair is on a stick. Some is on display:

One of the true delights was seeing the harem of winning Dairy Princesses, whose heads are carved out of 90lb. blocks of butter (it's salted; I asked.)

And finally, here's got to be the absolute best use of millet ever. This is from the crop art display. It's made up entirely of crops: corn, beans, and grains. It is a portrait of Tom Selleck. And, yes, his name is spelled wrong.

But I don't want you to think that I'm mocking the wonder that is the Minnesota State Fair. I honestly, truly, fantastically loved it. I loved the deep fried pickles (dipped in ranch dressing.) I loved the deep fried cheese curds (dipped in ketchup). I loved Minnesota's Largest Pumpkin (990 lbs.) and Minnesota's Largest Boar (1200 lbs.) A lot of it was probably the kitsch value, since I don't see too many foot-and-a-half long green-beans at the Grand Army Plaza Farmer's Market, but the whole thing was so deep-fried and so on a stick and so wonderfully American that I can't wait to go back. And I'll definitely try a stick of hotdish next time.


ClaireWalter said...

As comedian Yakov Smirnov says(and like that Minnesota portrait artist, I might be misspelling his name), "What a country!" As a reformed New Yorker now living in a flyover state, I alternately appreciate mid-Americana and the fact that enough of us have escaped from the coasts to bring a mega-dose of good food to the middle of the continent. I loved your photos and your lovely, mock-free humor.
Claire @ http://culinary-colorado.blogspot.com.

Maggie said...

I'm so glad you had fun at the Great Minnesota Get-together! I live in Minneapolis and take our annual trip to the fair quite seriously. Our first stop is always the cheese curd booth in the Food building, followed by a corn dog stand (not to be confused with the Pronto Pup). Next year you have to try the roasted corn and the deep fried pickles, "gourmet style" (stuffed with cream cheese).

Love your blog! I found it on Chowhound. Keep up the good work :)