Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A state of fairs


Do you go to your state fair? As a kid, not an autumn rolled around without a trip to Fair Park in Big D to attend the Texas State Fair. And oh boy, is it fun. There's the 52-foot tall Big Tex, who belts out announcements and salutations throughout the day. There's the butter statue, a work of agricultural art crafted from tons of butter (kept in a refridgerated room, of course). There's the food cook-offs, where you can watch the ladies feverishly stir their pots in hopes of making the best jelly or pie. There's a vertigo-inducing Ferris wheel and plenty of contests and games so you can win an overstuffed animal for your sweetheart. And let's not forget the photography exhibit of winners from its annual contest, which always included at least a couple of ribbon-adorned photos by my grandfather. Yes, the annual trip to the Fair was marvelous, but probably one of the best things about it was the chance to eat some homegrown, Texas-style junk food.

Jan and Michael Stern recently did a round-up of their favorite State Fair foods, and while I'm not usually a fan of theirs (they like EVERYTHING and I need my food critics to be a bit more discriminating) they did include Texas's own--the corn dog--on their list. Well, how could they not? As you're taught in 7th grade Texas History, this amazing treat was invented at the Texas State Fair in 1942. And if you've never had one of these, you must find one and try it. It's a hot dog on a stick dipped in cornbread batter and deep-fried. It's a Texas-style pig in blanket, if you will. And it's on a stick (!), which makes it very transportable. Now I can't find these in New York City, and if anyone knows a place here that sells them, give me a shout. But I make hot dogs, and I make cornbread, so I think I'm going to buy some popsicle sticks and try to make these at home in honor of State Fair month. They won't be as good as the ones at the Fair, but in a pinch, I hope they do. Now if I could just figure out how to make cotton candy, I'd be home!

Be sure and check out the graphic, and see if your favorite State Fair food is listed. Looking at the map, I think I need to make a trip to Virigina, where the have ham biscuits, and California and New Mexico, where they both specialize in tacos. Yum!

Update: Melissa over at A Fine Variety of Pickles also posted a State Fair post today. There must be something in the air. She goes into excellent detail about all the treats on hand. Check it out.

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9 comments:

anythingwithcheese said...

I love your blog! Being a Texan myself, I can't imagine living anywhere else than here. I would miss the Tex-Mex more than anything!!

laanba said...

I guess I'm so Texas centric I never thought about not being able to get a corn dog up there. Your blog is a reminder of how good I have it, although I bet there are some great things about living in NYC.

melissa mcgee said...

holy crap! why on earth did we both do posts on the texas state fair today??? amazing! very cool... i haven't even read the blog yet, but i had to comment on the texan-phenomenon that is apparently going on... COOL!

melissa mcgee said...

okay, i've actually read your post now and i have to tell you... seriously, send me your address and i'll f'ing FED EX a box of state fair corny dogs to you if i can find a way to keep them frozen. they sell them all over the place here, grocery stores, sams clubs, etc. they're not quite as good as the real thing, handed to you right out of the fryer wrapped in a paper towel, but they'll do in a pinch. man... i can't wait!!! HOWDY, FOLKS! AND WELCOME TO THE STATE FAIR OF TEXAS! I'M BIIIIG TEXXXXX!

melissa mcgee said...

well dadgum, ain't you sweet! you know, it IS something in the air! the weather's been in the 70's for the last 3 days... that ALWAYS makes me think of the texas state fair! okay! i'm gonna stop spamming your blog now, i promise!

UnGourmetGal said...

A few days ago on the news a committee chose the best fried food to be featured at the state fair, the winner was a fried pecan praline. Can you believe that, I'm going to have to buy a ticket just to try that concoction. The second winner for most unusual was fried coke, it looked more like whipped cream and doughnut holes though.

Tuba Slim said...

I've never been to my state fair -- neither in Dairyland (where I bet you can get some mean deep fried cheese curds) nor here in New York. But I have, oddly, been to the Minnesota State Fair, which also lays claim to having invented the corn dog (or, more precisely, the Pronto Pup). Hey, I don't have a dog in this fight, so to speak.

Homesick Texan said...

Pronto pup is made with all wheat flour, so it's not a corny dog.

Anonymous said...

What a well done post!

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