This weekend I hit an all time high on my Midwest-o-meter. Where did I achieve this impressive feat you may ask? Well, at The Great Minnesota Get Together, also known as the Minnesota State Fair. What made it even more exciting was I had another non-Midwesterner accompanying me on my journey. My mom made the trip from Maryland to Minneapolis and joined me on my adventure to experience all that is Midwest at the state fair.
We began our adventure at the Miracle of Life exhibit. As I squeezed my way through the crowd to the cages of new born piglets, day old lambs, and chicks emerging from their shells, I happened to glance up at the TV screens throughout the building. It took a few moments before my mind was able to process what my eyes were seeing. Up on the monitors was video of animals being birthed. That very piglet that I had just been petting was probably the one being squeezed out of… well… you know… covered in… well… you know. My mom ooed and awwed at the miracle of life, I squirmed and vowed never to have children of my own. As we left, I wondered how many times parents are asked that ever important questions of how babies are made after leaving the Miracle of Life exhibit.
We moved on towards the International Bazaar and saw just a glimpse of what was to come in the smorgasborg of food options: Cheese on a stick, chicken on a stick, and yes, even beer on a stick. My stomach began to growl as we hurried through vendors selling goodies from all parts of the world.
Next stop on our adventure, cheese curds. I had to introduce my mom to one of my favorite Midwestern treats. As we sat
down to enjoy the artery clogging goodness that are fried-oily cheese curds, I was already planning our next food stop. It had to be something on a stick for sure, but how does one choose? Pork chop on stick, bacon on stick, pizza on a stick, spaghetti and meatballs on a stick, Swedish meatballs on a stick, s’mores on a stick, walleye on a stick, mashed potatoes on a stick– the options were never ending!
I contemplated my next meal as we moved on to the Princess Kay of the Milky Way butter head sculptures. For those of you unaware of who Princess Kay of the Milky Way is and what a butter head sculpture could possibly be, allow me to explain. Princess Kay of the Milky Way is the pageant for young women who will serve as the Minnesota state Dairy Princess. All of the contestants up for the title get their heads carved in a 90 lb. block of butter that are on display at the fair. After the fair, the young women are able to take home their butter heads as well as the scraps from the carving. The butter can be frozen for up to 10 years and many girls save the head until their wedding day or bring out for big town functions or family events for everyone to enjoy.
At this point I was starting to get irritated due to lack of food in my stomach. It was time to make a decision. But how to choose? Then, like a choir of angels sent from heaven to guide me towards my meal of choice, there before me lay Hotdish on a Stick. What could be more Midwestern than that? How was this meal created you may ask? Take a stick, had a meatball then a tator-tot, meatball tator-tot, meatball and then tator-tot, dip the entire thing in corn dog batter and fry until crisp and delicious. Enjoy the entire thing by dipping it in a cream of mushroom soup gravy. Delicious. Suggestion: wash it down with a cold glass of chocolate milk from the bottom glass of milk station.
We spent the rest of our day checking out exhibits and looking at farm animals from every shape and size. We even watched a dairy goat judging competition. I don’t know what differentiates a good udder from a bad one, but it was interesting all the same.
As we left the fair I felt full, exhausted, and slightly more Midwestern than before I arrived. Until next year.