Mission accomplished: We made it to the Iowa State Fair. We saw the butter cow. We ate some funny food on a stick. Although I was never *really* going to try the fried butter on a stick, I have to admit that I was looking forward to some deep fried macaroni and cheese on a stick. However, due to limited time constraints, we never found any of the more exotic treats. I had expected to trip over the “on a stick” stalls every few feet, but wherever they were hiding, it was deeper into the fair grounds than we ventured. Most everything I saw was standard cotton candy, gyros, popcorn, and baked potatoes smothered in the typical toppings. We did see a pork chop on a stick on our way in, but it was a little too early to leap right in with both feet, and we didn’t find our way back.
One of the first things we tried was the above pictured “Salad on a Stick” which was just a few carrots, a cucumber slice, a mushroom, and a tomato sandwiched into some iceburg lettuce wedges. I guess it was an attempt at placating the health conscious or the vegetarians.
We also got some good advice to try the “Double Bacon, Hand Dipped Corn Dog” from an older gentleman in State Fair approved overalls. Jessica liked the hand dipped aspect, but could only detect minimal amounts of the “double” bacon in the batter.
The peanut butter “Fair Square” which was touted up in a local Iowa paper as being delicious, was actually chalky, dried out, and crumbling, and made me suspect it had been made back on opening day. It was also so sickly sweet, it could have inspired Ray Gun’s T-shirt slogan “I went to the Iowa State Fair and all I got was Type II Dibetes.”
Curious to find out what the “Beef Sundae” was made of, I made friends with a young woman volunteering at a food hall who let me snap a photo of this “picture perfect” dish. I gathered a crowd and garnered some chuckles with my ingredient assumptions of beef, gravy, and ice cream. As absurd as that may sound, folks admitted it might only be a matter of time before somebody tries to sell that. They clarified that it was potato, chipped beef, shredded cheese, and a tomato made up to look like a sundae. My new young friend categorized it as “puke on potato.” She also filled me in on some inside reactions to the food. Apparently, volunteers get to sample things first and she said, “I watched an older woman try the fried Oreo and nearly throw up.”
From the Iowa Egg Council, we got these hard boiled eggs on sticks, with their accomopanying Cookies brand spicy seasoning salt. That may have been the best food we sampled.
The rest of the fair food we only photographed either because it was too crazy, like the multi-flavored funnel cakes above, or because it was just too big like the fried potato ribbon chips below, one long string spiralled out of a giant potato and fried crispy.
I contemplated including a photo of the Butter Cow itself, but hesitated over this dillema: Should I ruin the experience for future fair goers? I heard on the radio that this year’s butter cow was a little shorter in the legs than it was in years past… If you’d like me to reveal the truth of this accusation, just comment below and voice your thoughts on the matter.