The Minnesota State Fair has released the annual list of new foods we’ll soon sample.
You didn’t blanch at the word “soon,” did you? Because you know it’s soon.
We know the folks at the fair are excited. They can’t wait! They prep for this all year long — OK, maybe they take the first week after the fair off, or at least do half-days — and they cannot wait for the show to start. They’re probably standing around the office, tapping their toes and checking their watches, glaring at the calendar: “Come on, come on, June, get it over already.”
I have two thoughts about the new foods:
First, they don’t need to announce them now. No one looks at the list and says, “Hmm, sun-baked yak thyroids basted with loon spittle! Why, my glands are firehosing saliva at the thought; let me write this down and carry the note wadded in my pocket, transferred from one garment to the other, lest I lose sight of this gustatory opportunity by the time the fair rolls around.” Telling us the week before will suffice.
Second, I feel personally targeted each time the list is announced, because it reminds me that every year I vow to try Braised Emu, and every year I end up standing behind 36 people waiting for a corn dog. Most years I go to the fair every day, and I still manage to skip the emu. There are times I find myself sitting on a curb eating a hamburger, thinking: “Really? There’s Belgian Mutton Waffles somewhere around here, and I’m eating a hamburger?”
Someday all the food at the fair will be exotic and spectacular and novel, and the list of new foods will include The Ham-Burger, and then it will be OK to have one.
I understand that introducing new foods is part of the tradition, and the fair is full of traditions. Including this column’s annual account of State Fair foods that did not make the cut:
• Oreo Soup. Have you ever wondered why no one put together the delicious flavors of chicken stock, chalky chocolate and white-flavored sugar spackle? You won’t after you try this.
• Aussie Burgers. It’s an American burger, Down Under style! The flat bottom of the bun is on the top, and the part with the dome is on the bottom. Watch as the chef takes an ordinary American burger, says, “That’s not a burgah,” then turns it upside down and says, “Now, that’s a burgah!”
• Donut Black Holes. Like donut holes, but they have the density of collapsed stars, so you can’t get on a ride for a few hours because the machinery will not be able to lift you.
• Poutine Ice Cream. It’s right next to the All You Can Drink Hot Buttermilk Bar. Both are brought to you by the American Stent Manufacturers’ Association.
• Corn Sensation. If you like corn on the cob, you’ll love “Corn With a Tenuous Yet Detectable Connection to Cob.” Each kernel is gently separated from the cob, hand-dusted with powdered butter and sea salt — also known as “salt” — and then fitted back into its socket. It comes off much more easily than traditional, labor-intensive corn on the cob. Great for those with loose dentures.
• Tofu Veal and Tofu Foie Gras. You didn’t eat it before for ethical reasons; now you can reject a cruelty-free version.
• Corn Wolf-Dog Hybrid. It’s like a corn dog, but it turns on you when you least expect it.