More Food On A Stick Than You Can Shake A Stick At

I have a shocking confession to make: Before last Friday night, Ryan and I were virgins. State Fair virgins, that is.

What finally lured us to the Wisconsin State Fair this year was the fact that we weren't planning a wedding, so we suddenly had free time. And what better way to fill our free time than taking a nice stroll down to the State Fair Park (it's just a few miles from our house) in the beautiful summer air, marveling at the agricultural bounty of our wonderful state, getting up close and personal with herds of livestock and our fellow Wisconsinites, and eating as much food on a stick as humanly possible?


Off we went! Along our walk to the fairgrounds we passed this water tower bearing the name of our city. From this angle, all you can see is the end: T O S A. That's OK; as we've discovered in our two years in Wauwatosa, most locals refer to it only by its final two syllables. I used to think that was simultaneously cheesy and lazy -- trying to trendify the name of our city by shortening it to a "hip" two-syllable length just seemed the worst kind of precious.

However, my insistence on saying "Wauwatosa" each and every time I referred to it (especially while inside the city limits) was garnering strange glances from my neighbors. It was as if they didn't know what city I was talking about -- some strange four-syllable burgh that didn't sound nearly as cool and cosmopolitan as "Tosa." However, *my* concern about slipping into the vernacular was quite the opposite: If anyone from outside the metro area were to try to locate "Tosa" on a map, they'd soon become convinced that I was lying about the name of my city and therefore must be a fugitive from justice. My first name is already based on a town that nobody believes exists (even people from England -- hell, especially people from England) because it's apparently been removed from most atlases. So a fake town first name and a fake town for a residence? Who needs the hassle? I've since compromised my principles and refer to Wauwatosa as "Tosa" when I am in the company of other (it pains me even to type this without a leading apostrophe) Tosans.

Anyway, that's one of our water towers. We have a few others that are quite fetching as well. I'll leave those for another blog post.

We passed this car wash on our walk to the Fair. $3.31 for a car wash? Sign me up! The entrepreneurial spirit there was in full swing on Friday, with the car wash offering State Fair parking for "Only $15.00!" I wonder if we could just drop off the car for a reaaaallly long car wash instead.
We may have to look into that next year.


We finally made it inside the gates and we made a bee-line for the Food On A Stick pavilion. First up: Frozen banana on a stick, dipped in chocolate and rolled in peanuts. We were slightly disappointed that it wasn't deep fried, and the hut from which it was sold had nothing on the Bluth Banana Stand from TV's Arrested Development, but we enjoyed it anyway. It was also far and away the most healthy thing we planned to eat all evening, so we were glad for the opportunity to feel dietetically righteous for a few minutes.

Next up: Deep fried Oreos. Sadly, these were not on a stick. But they were pretty darn tasty, I must say. They came 8 to a bag, encased in still-sizzling batter and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Mmmm....bag o goodness.

No trip to the Wisconsin State Fair is complete without a cream puff. Again, not on a stick, but sooooo good. There's a reason fairgoers bought 355,000 of these last year. But they really need to come up with a way to deep fry these things! If anyone out there wants to pioneer that process, I would appreciate being part of the focus group when you have a successful prototype to sample. You can find the base recipe here. Good luck and Godspeed!

Finally, the holiest of holies. Deep fried S'mores on a stick. We had to ask directions at the Information hut to locate the S'mores booth (the teenager working the Info hut was able to pinpoint the S'mores booth on the map with astonishing speed and precision -- almost as if he'd been asked its location a quarter of a million times over the last ten days or something). As we approached the S'mores booth, we felt as if we were nearing a temple of universal, non-denominational spiritual significance. Chocolate-covered marshmallows rolled in graham cracker batter, deep fried, and then dusted with powdered sugar. Probably also sprinkled with crack, given how instantly we were hooked.

We also ate a plate of fries and drank some lemonade, but those were decidedly less photogenic menu items. We skipped out on the giant smoked turkey drumsticks (seriously, they were as big as my forearm!) because we had just spent some time in the Poultry Pavilion and it seemed kind of mean. ("Sorry, guys -- we gotta run; we're going to go eat some of your friends' legs.") Luckily, none of the other food we ate can be found in nature, so we didn't have to feel guilty about eating it. Sadly, though, it wasn't until the day *after* we attended the fair that we learned of this year's newest stick-based food phenomenon: Deep Fried Mac & Cheese On a Stick. How could we have missed it?! Ahh well, it will give us something to look forward to next year.

Stay tuned for more pictures (of non-food-related things) from our trip to the 2008 Wisconsin State Fair!

1 comment:

Jean said...

Okay, WI State Fair expert, could any of the deep-fried delicacies be replicated at home? Because nothing says "Happy Thanksgiving" like deep-fried s'mores, right?