The Minnesota State Fair. Just hearing the words conjures so many memories of exciting foods, unique gifts found at the International Bazaar, and that indescribable State Fair smell of deep fryers, sweet hay and summer heat. It’s an event that seems to take forever to arrive, and then it’s over before you know it. With new foods each year, it’s hard to be able to experience all that there is to offer at this Great Minnesota Get-Together.
Old Traditions, New Flavors
The State Fair is known for corn dogs, cheese curds, kettle corn but it seems that with each summer comes new treats to try. Every year we get more creative with what we put on a stick, deep fry, or dip in chocolate. There are 32 new foods on the menu for the fair this year, and this is just a sneak peek at what we have to look forward to:
SPAM Sushi. Sushi has taken the nation by storm over the last few years, so this combination shouldn’t come as a surprise to us. SPAM sushi is made with grilled SPAM, sushi rice, fried egg, and wasabi, all rolled in dried seaweed. If you’re new to the sushi scene, this may be a nice way to dip your toes into the water. Even if you’re an expert, there’s no shame in having an open mind and enjoying this “traditional American meat meets East” combination. SPAM Sushi can be found at Sushi Rolls in the Warner Coliseum.
Mac and Cheese Curds. Another food pair that’s been begging to be put together is macaroni and cheese and cheese curds, the ever-favorite fair food. Classic macaroni and cheese is mixed with fresh cheese curds, making for a truly ooey gooey comfort food. Macaroni and cheese curds can be found at Oodles of Noodles in the Food Building.
The Reuben Pickle Dog. The Reuben sandwich is another versatile classic, and there are seemingly endless ways in which to serve this delicious flavor combo. Pickle Dog, located at the south side of the appropriately named Carnes Avenue between Liggett and Chambers Streets, has come up with yet another new way of serving up Reubens: The Reuben Pickle Dog. It’s made up of a dill pickle spear, sauerkraut, 1000 island dressing, all wrapped in a slice of pastrami. I have bad breath just thinking about it.
If you’re looking for a specific food, visit www.mnstatefair.org and look for the Food Finder. This tool makes it even easier for you to look up and locate the over 500 varieties of food items available. This feature is also included on the Minnesota State Fair app, available for both iPhone and Android.
Recreate the Flavors of the Fair at Home
A fun new feature at the fair this year is called the “Recipe Card Roundup.” In case you have wished you could bring the Minnesota State Fair into your own kitchen, this is an opportunity to acquire some of the best recipes of the 2015 State Fair: Zesty Salsa, Strawberry Jam, Banana Bread, Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars, Apple Pie (filling and crust) and Chocolate Brownies. Each recipe card is given away on different days so make sure to be at the Creative Activities Building at 10am and 4pm to receive one of the limited supplies of these collectible cards. The daily schedules, also available online, will indicate which recipes will be given out which days.
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
With so many new things to look forward to at the Great Minnesota Get-Together, don’t be afraid to take your time. Chew slowly, enjoy your companions as you stand in lines, and appreciate each moment of the crowded streets. The Minnesota State Fair is a time to enjoy who we are, where we are, and who is standing beside us – put that on a stick!
By Whitney Grindberg