Monday, August 9, 2010

Mississippi Valley Fair

Break out your cowboy hats and Lipitor, it's time for the Mississippi Valley Fair!
The fair is held every year during the first week of August. For 4Hers and country music fans, it's quite an occasion. For the rest of us... not so much. However, there is always the promise of an array of completely unhealthy cuisine. We trekked down the aisle of vendors to begin collecting foods for our cornucopia of empty calories.

The first stop was this Grater Tater stand. But it wasn't taters we were after. Notice the sign in the window? That's right, deep-fried candy bars. I had the choice of either Snickers or Milky Way, so I chose Milky Way. They pierced it with a stick, baptized it in batter, and submerged it in the deep fryer. Three minutes later, I had my cruci-fried candy in hand.

First bite and all I could taste was the batter, which was a basic corn dog batter. A dusting of powdered sugar would have enhanced the crispy shell.

Once I broke through the crust, my tongue was greeted by melted chocolate and nougat, which took on the consistency a toasted marshmallow. The overall taste was similar to that of a s'more, but something was off. It seems as though the chocolate had lost some of its sweetness beneath the batter. It was wholly unsatisfying and not worth the $4 I paid.

We continued on and stopped at a barbecue stand so Richie could satisfying his 'cue craving. Of course, it was BBQ on a stick, but they also dressed it in a warm flour tortilla. They had a nice variety of sauces to add to it as well. For $5, it was obviously overpriced, but flavorful.

My love for pickles compelled me to squander $2 for this giant gherkin.

Unfortunately, I found that pickles are only appealing when they are cold and crisp. This was warm and the skin was soft. I should have just thrown $2 in to the trash can.

Richie has a thing for food on a stick, so he ordered a Teriyaki chicken skewer. The woman in front of us in line said she returns to this stand every year for their food. This kabob was also enveloped in a tortilla and cost $5. Richie liked it, but not as much as the kabobs at the Farmer's market.

Our final stop in white trash hell was for an elephant ear and lemon shake-up. The lemonade was fresh, and I guess you could say natural, as the only ingredients were ice, lemon, sugar, and probably residue from the various insects buzzing around inside.

The elephant ear dough was kneaded, stretched, and lightly placed in the oil. They let each side crisp for about 3 minutes. Then she stuck a brush in a tub of butter and stroked it onto the warm ear. Finally, it was dusted with a mix of powdered sugar and cinnamon. Richie kept commenting on the considerable amount of butter, but I'm not sure he meant that as a bad thing.

I fed him about half of it as we drove home, probably a lobe's worth. It's definitely the best deal for your money ($4) if you can stomach an entire earful.

Although the sights and smells of fair food can be very appealing, much like Tom Hanks in Bosom Buddies, looks can be deceiving. Stay at home, save your money and your mouth.


  1. ok here is what's wrong with america. we steal an idea like deep fried candy bars - of which originally there were just mars bars - and put corn on it.
    the first (and most bestest) deep fried candy bar i had was in scotland where they used a much thinner almost crepe-like batter. it allowed the chocolate to melt and get all awesome, but then it was just hot and crunchy on the outside.

    it's been all downhill since then. i mean really wtf corn dog batter.

  2. It sounded so good. Next time I'm in Scotland, I will have to seek one out.