Monday, September 03, 2007

State Fair '07 Report

After working in the yard and around the house yesterday we decided to reward ourselves with a trip to the MD State Fair. We had multiple reasons for wanting to go. Naturally, after last week's second place finish Chris was curious to see how she did in the rest of the baking categories.

Me? Well, I'm a sucker for disgustingly over-the-top State Fair foods and wanted to see if there was anything new on the deep fried food front.

After parking and working our way through the throngs, we arrived at the Home Arts building where they were displaying entries in everything from quilting and photography to what we were interested in – baked goods.

As you can see from this photo, the Fair attracts a pretty decent amount of entries. What you see there represents maybe 15% of the overall entries in the baked goods categories. After perusing the displays we were very happy to see that in addition to last week's second place finish in the chocolate cake category, Chris took home an additional second place for her Cranberry Nut Bread and two third place ribbons for her Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Meal Muffins.

Frankly, I think the whole thing is more rigged than an NBA game because I don't believe there were two entries better than those muffins. But I may be biased!

After checking out her winning entries (and admiring the Homer Simpson cake that was entered in another category) we headed out to wander the grounds. With just one more day to go – and the weather about as picture perfect as you could want for a late summer day – the grounds were packed. Unfortunately, the grounds were packed with oblivious and well, just plain rude people.

We eventually fought our way through the crowd and made our way down to the Swine Judging Pavillion so we could see just what a prize-winning pig looks like. To be honest, a prize-winning pig looks just as tasty as a non-prize-winning pig, but what do I know?

My last experience with Fair Food was a few years ago when the Deep Fried Twinkie craze was just sweeping the nation. We ventured over to the Fair with WP Tandy (Smile Hon) and Davida Breier and sampled the much ballyhooed Deep Fried Twinkies (like eating melted cake batter... encased in dough). Quite frankly, the Deep Fried Oreos were far better – molten blobs of chocolate and melted sugary cream filling... encased in dough.

Unfortunately, the MD State Fair vendors are not quite as progressive or forward thinking as the vendors at other fairs. I was saddened as we walked the grounds and saw no Deep Fried Coke or even a Pork Chop on a Stick. Twinkies and Oreos seemed everywhere and I wondered if I'd have to leave the Fair, stymied on my quest to try something new.

And then I spotted the sign for the Deep Fried Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich. "Now you're talking," I said. While Chris and Ryan scoped out a spot where we could sit and eat, I stood in line and ordered up the Deep Fried PB&J and, while I was at it, a Deep Fried Three Musketeers Bar. I'm not a huge chocolate fan but figured that the fluffy, whipped center of the favorite candy bar of my youth might react well to being heated to an alarming degree.

Unfortunately, I figured wrong. The Musketeers bar was borderline disgusting, like a blob of dough filled with semi-melted chocolate and topped with powdered sugar. In fact, we each had a bite or two and left most of it untouched.

The PB&J, on the other hand, was a different story. Though the dispersal of jelly could have been more uniform, the peanuty, grape jelly insides held up perfectly during the deep frying process, resulting in something that resembled a puffed up, stuffed funnel cake.

We polished off the PB&J and tossed the remaining Musketeer bar into the trash. We made one more loop around the grounds, resisting the urge to take home one of the wonderful-smelling Smoked Turkey Legs that had a very Henry the VIII feel about them as grown men struggled to work their way through the meat-laden forerunner of food on a stick.

But, we had other dinner ideas. We had decided that while we weren't necessarily interested in eating dinner at the State Fair, there was no reason we couldn't bring the unhealthy vibe of State Fair food home with us.

In other words, we were going to make Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Hot Dogs. Details to come.


Dave S. said...

Wow, that sounds good. I need to eat more PB&J. Maybe I'll start packing it in my lunch.

(By the way, thanks for reason #48 why I need a deep frier at home.)

Dan said...

LOL... I can see you taking out your deep fryer in the lunchroom and plunging some PB&J in there! I think this is reason #73 why my wife won't let me have a deep fryer!

John said...

I waited in line for ten G@dd#=n minutes at that Deep Fried Fudge cart - that's what I was waiting for, though had I had more money I would've gotten the Deep Fried PB&MF (marshmallow creme) sandwich too. Then they tell me the deep fryer is down! >:( This was Sunday, mind you. I guess they got it up and running by Labor Day!

Dan said...

We were there on Sunday evening so it must have been fixed by then. I'm still bummed I didn't get one of those big ol' smoked turkey legs.