Sunday, August 25, 2013

The State Fair and Mummy’s Nummies UPDATE; or Everything You Always Wanted to Know About The Fair But Were Afraid to Ask!

    A phenomenon such as the Minnesota State Fair actually boggles the mind. The official tally for yesterday’s (Friday) attendance was 121,941 fair goers. Here is some trivia about our Minnesota State Fair:
    How many acres of corn were sold at the Corn Roast booth in 2009? (25 acres) 
    How much butter is used to sculpt the likeness of Princess Kay of the Milky Way? (85-90 lbs.)
    What attraction, created in Pine Island, Minn., was the Dairy Building’s feature at the 1911 State Fair? (A 6,000 pound block of cheese)
    At the 1906 State Fair, the St. Paul Growers Association built a model of the new State Capitol out of what vegetable? (onions)
  • In 1939 all children who attended the fair on “Children’s Day” received what beverage? (a carton of milk)
  • How long would it take the average cow to produce all the milk served during the fair’s 12-day run at the All-You-Can-Drink milk booth? (3-4 years)
  • What new food did fair guests devour 30,000 servings of at the 2006 State Fair? (Hot Dish On-A-Stick at Ole and Lena’s)
  • How many food concessions are located throughout the fairgrounds? (About 300 food concessions dish up more than 450 different delectable delights.)
  • How many church dining halls are on the fairgrounds? (four: Church of the Epiphany; Hamline United Methodist; Robbinsdale OES and Salem Lutheran Church)
  • When was the Pronto Pup introduced at the State Fair? (1947)
  • During a typical year, how many gallons of milk are served at the American Dairy Association’s All-You-Can-Drink Milk concession? (about 25,000 gallons)
  • On average, what’s the total number of corndogs typically consumed by fair guests each year? (500,000)
  • What is the most popular flavor of pies entered in the Creative Activities baked goods category? (apple)
  • On average, how many individual cheese curds are battered, deep-fried and gobbled up by fair guests? (over 2.6 million)
  • About how many calories are in an order of deep-fried cheese curds? (475)
  • How many dozens of mini donuts are eaten each year? (nearly 338,000)
  • Which fair food contains the most calories? (deep-fried candy bars)
  • Fresh French Fries made their debut at the fair in what year? (1972)
  • How many calories does one corndog have? (310)  
I checked out the lactation station which I found a bit strange. It is supposedly promoting breastfeeding in public, but what I saw were cubicles with doors sporting huge numbers and a waiting area where moms and their babies had to wait to nurse, even though only moms and babies were there. So each mom has a private place to feed her baby. Not terribly public. Rather private I would say. No different from the fitting rooms at the mall. I would much rather see a large room with a circle of (at least 20) rocking chairs where moms could just come and go and maybe even visit with other mothers. It was neither public nor promoting much of anything. Maybe I can look into helping out with this before the 2014 fair.

I had signed up and volunteered for the evening shift at Children's Hospital Safety tent which was very fun. I was a "greeter" first, standing by the sidewalk inviting families in to try to guess the right answers at the 4 safety stations and win a prize. After an hour of greeting people, I was transferred to the water safety station. It was fun asking each family questions about water safety. I had a cue card with easy questions for little people and harder ones for grown ups and teenagers. Do you know what percentage of all drownings could be avoided by installing fencing around home swimming pools? Or how to tell if a life jacket is the appropriate one for your child? Do most childhood drownings happen at lakes and beaches? Answers: 50 - 90% of all drownings could be avoided by fencing home swimming pools. And, you need to read the label and size the life vests by the weight of the child. Most childhood drownings happen in home swimming pools.   Back to trivia:
More than 100,000 pounds of fried cheese curds (left) are consumed at the MN State Fair every year.
Sarah Laskow, journalist, has done her homework. Here is her list of the best worst new foods in 2013 at the fair of 47 new foods the fair is featuring this year, and all we can do is take our hats off to the evil geniuses that the fair clearly employs as food innovators. Their twisted imaginations are beyond our most bilious indigestion nightmares.

At one point I visited the Miracle of Birth barn and watched cows in early labor and sheep looking very perplexed, wondering why so many people were looking at them. There were narrow stalls where some pigs were laying down looking very hot and bored. One huge mama pig was nursing 8 very cute babies and there were several pens with little rabbits, and quite a few sets of twin goat kids. I watched one mama-to-be sow and didn't detect any sign that she might have her babies today. I asked the vet who was standing by her pen if he thought it would be today. He said yes. I asked if you would normally see bloody show or amniotic fluid first like we see with human mothers. He said yes, usually. I said she didn't appear to be contracting and asked if it is pretty clear when she is bearing down and he said, yes, they get into it at that point. Then I mentioned that I was a midwife and would love to help a mama pig have babies someday (it was this pig's first litter) and he laughed and said, "Well, then, get on in here!" I asked if he was serious and he answered, "Absolutely!" But I said I had to work at the Children's Hospital booth in an hour and I couldn't get my uniform dirty. Otherwise I would, although I really doubt that they need any help from us. Back to Fair trivia:
You’ve got your basic bacon-wrapped grilled shrimp on a stick, funnel cake sundaes, cocoa cheese bites, mini donut batter crunch ice cream, fried pickles to be dipped in chocolate, deep-fried bread pudding, deep-fried pumpkin pie, deep-fried Monte Cristo, and deep-fried meatloaf. But it gets better. Forthwith, our favorite absolutely-disgusting-but-damn-we-want-that item:
Caramel corn made with liquid nitrogen“This icy-cold popcorn is crispy, crunchy, sweet, & salty and leaves a trail of comet dust when exhaled out of the nose and mouth, creating a tingly, bubbly feeling.” Fuuuuun.
Candied bacon cannoli Leave the gun. TAKE THIS CANNOLI. (It’ll kill you just as reliably, anyway.)
“Bacon-wrapped hot dog dipped in corn dog battered blended with real bacon bits then deep fried.” If that’s too much for you, there’s always the healthier sweet corn version.
Craft beer battered onion rings Made with Indeed Daytripper, a local craft beer, these must be healthy and good for the planet, as they are made with local ingredients.
Philly fries You don’t even want to know. (OK, it’s basically a Philly cheesesteak, but with fries, instead of a bun.)
English Toffee Fudge Puppy The description doesn’t even do this one justice. “Chocolate-covered bits of English toffee baked in the middle of a fudge puppy (Belgian waffle on a stick) then dipped in chocolate and layered with whipped cream, a toffee sauce and more bits of chocolate-covered English toffee.”
What food on a stick can you find at the Minnesota State Fair in 2013? Here's the list of food on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair, arranged by the vendor's name.
Apple Lil's: Chocolate covered cheesecake-on-a-stick. 
Bayou Bob's: Cajun seasoned alligator sausage on-a-stick. 
Big Fat Bacon: one-third pound slice of bacon grilled with maple syrup, served on-a-stick with dipping sauces. 
Boulevard Grill: pancake battered maple sausage on-a-stick. 
Candy Factory: hand-dipped caramel apples on-a-stick with gourmet toppings including nuts, candies and marshmallows. 
Caramel Apples, Cotton Candy, Sno Kones: caramel apples on-a-stick. 
Carousel BBQ: grilled pork chops on-a-stick. 
Chan's Chicken on a Stick: Teriyaki chicken on-a-stick. 
Cheese on a Stick: Cheese on-a-stick (surprise!) 
Chinatown Minnesota: Teriyaki ostrich on-a-stick, pork and cabbage egg roll on-a-stick. 
Colonial Nut Roll Company: nut rolls dipped in chocolate and served on-a-stick. 
Corndogs/Lemonade: fresh dipped (6", 12", 1/3 lb. 12" Dogzilla) corn dog on-a-stick. 
Cotton Candy: cotton candy on-a-stick. 
Deep Fried Candy Bars: batter dipped, deep fried candy bars on-a-stick - Snickers, Milky Way, Three Musketeers, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Nut Goodie. 
Dino's Gyros: Greek meatballs on-a-stick. 
Farmers Union Coffee Shop: cookies and biscotti on-a-stick. 
Fish & Chips: salmon-on-a-stick, grilled shrimp-on-a-stick, lobster-on-a-stick, scallops-on-a-stick. 
Flavored Corn Dogs: double bacon corn dog, sweet corn corndog, jalapeno cheese corndog 
French Fried Mushrooms: baby potatoes on-a-stick 
Fried Fruit: batter-dipped deep-fried fruit on-a-stick: 
Giggles' Campfire Grill: Northwoods salad on-a-stick (mozzarella cheese, grape tomatoes and dressing served over chilled wild rice. And, salmon on-a-stick, porcupine meatballs on-a-stick (actually wild rice and ground pork). 
Granny's Cheesecake & More: cheesecake on-a-stick, frozen bananas on-a-stick dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts; strawberries on-a-stick dipped in chocolate; combination of strawberries and bananas on-a-stick dipped in chocolate; and sliced ice cream on-a-stick dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts. 
Granny's Kitchen Fudge Puppies: Fudge Puppies (a Belgium waffle on-a-stick dipped in Swiss chocolate) topped with choices of whipped topping or crunch coating. 
Green Mill: Foot long pizza on-a-stick, pizza kabob on-a-stick. 
Grilled Shrimp: grilled shrimp on-a-stick with butter garlic seasonings or Cajun seasonings 
Holy Land Deli: lamb or beef kabobs on-a-stick, shrimp on-a-stick, gyro on-a-stick, stuffed grape leaves on-a-stick. WHAT? No Camel-on-a-stick this yr?
Isabel Burkes Olde Tyme Taffy: Taffy pop on-a-stick. 
Key Lime Pie Bar: Frozen key lime pie dipped in chocolate on-a-stick. 
Lamb Shoppe: Lamb chop on-a-stick. Also, marinated and grilled leg of lamb on-a-stick. 
Luigi Fries: hot dago on-a-stick. 
Midtown Global Market: mango on-a-stick. 
Midway Grill: Corndogs. 
Mike's Hamburgers: deep fried hot dog wraps on-a-stick. 
Mini Melts/Wonder Bars: Cookies and cream wonder bars, hand sliced, dipped in chocolate, on-a-stick. 
Minnesota Wine Country: Beef or vegetable kabobs. 
Netterfield Food Court: Cheese on-a-stick, chicken and pork shish kebabs. 
Ole and Lena's: Tater tot hot dish on-a-stick with cream of mushroom dipping sauce. 
Oodles of Noodles: spaghetti and meatballs on-a-stick, deep fried s’mores on-a-stick. 
Peters Hot Dogs: porketta on-a-stick. 
Pickle Dog: whole dill pickle on-a-stick. 
Poncho Dog: Poncho Dog on-a-stick (6" corn meal battered, deep fried hot dog). 
Pork Chops & Chicken: pork chops on-a-stick, chicken breast on-a-stick. 
Potato Man and Sweetie: New for 2012: Sweetie's Delight - mashed sweet potatoes on-a-stick. Also, cheddar mashed potatoes on-a-stick. 
Preferred Pickle: pickles on-a-stick. 
Pretzel Haus: pretzel dog on-a-stick. 
Pronto Pups: Pronto Pup on-a-stick (6" flour battered, deep fried hot dog), Papa Pup on-a-stick (10" flour battered, deep fried hot dog). 
Ragin’ Cajun: blackened Cajun steak or chicken on-a-stick. 
Root Beer Hut: caramel apples on-a-stick. 
Sausage Sisters and Me: Twisted Sister on-a-stick (Italian sausage wrapped in bread stick dough), Puff Daddy on-a-stick (Thai sausage wrapped in puff pastry). 
Scotch Eggs: Scotch Eggs on-a-stick (hard-boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, rolled in bread crumbs and deep fried), Scotch Meatball on-a-stick. 
Shanghaied Henry's: Bacon wrapped turkey tenderloin on-a-stick. 
Snacks: pickles on-a-stick. 
Sonny’s Spiral Spuds: Deep fried chocolate chip cookie dough on-a-stick, Tornado Potato (a potato spiral-cut on-a-stick, optionally dipped in chocolate. 
Spaghetti Eddie's: Italian-style chicken on-a-stick, Italian meatball on-a-stick. 
St Martin's Olives: olives on-a-stick. 
Super Dogs: Batter dipped deep fried hot dogs on-a-stick (6", 12", or 18"). 
Tejas Express: chicken nachos on-a-stick. 
Texas Steak Out: Texas Steak Dinner on-a-stick (cubed steak, potatoes, onion, peppers and a dinner roll, also available with chicken), Texas tater or sweet potato twister (spiral cut potato on-a-stick), sausage on-a-stick. 
The Shrimp Shack: Shrimp on-a-stick, grilled with garlic butter seasonings. 
Tino's Pizza on a Stick: pizza on-a-stick. 
Tysk Concessions: caramel apples on-a-stick. 
Ultimate Confections: chocolate covered cheesecake on-a-stick, chocolate covered marshmallows on-a-stick, s'mores on-a-stick. 
Veggie Pie: frozen grapes on-a-stick, pineapple, oranges, cherries on-a-stick. 
Vescio's: ice cream on-a-stick. 
Walleye On A Stick: walleye on-a-stick, catfish on-a-stick. 
West Indies Soul Food: jerk pork chop on-a-stick.
The Food Finder at the Minnesota State Fair's website will direct you to all of these glorious foods on sticks.

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