Smell those deep-fried cheese curds? It's State Fair time around the country, and that means food, food and more food. Eating your way through the fair is a time-honored tradition, and it's getting more and more deliciously elaborate every year.
When we were kids, it was a big deal to head to the Minnesota State Fair, where nearly everything came jammed onto a stick. (At home, the only foods you could find with handy tongue-depresser or sharpened-dowel handles were popsicles, fudgesicles, caramel apples, suckers, pudding pops or corn dogs, every one of them a rare treat. The fair, on the other -- often sticky -- hand, was overflowing with 'em.) The weird, wacky eats-on-a-stick at the fair were always more fun than fulfilling. Bragging rights were the tastiest morsel: "I ate alligator on a stick!"
At today's MN State Fair, there are more options than ever -- all of them skewered -- from risotto balls to hot dish to mac-and-cheese to camel (!). But to me, there's nothing like the original fair food on a stick that got me hooked on pork, oil and batter all those years ago: the corn dog. (Here in Minnesota, there's a perennial battle between the traditional corn dog and the Pronto Pup. I like 'em both.) A squirt of ketchup up one side, mustard up the other, and hotter-than-lava oil dripping down the perfectly fried hotdog-embedded dough? Mmmm -- is it time for next year's fair yet?
Got a favorite fair-food memory from when you were a kid?