Lileks: Fairgoers, get ready for a taste of Battered Invasive Carp

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 26, 2014 - 8:57 PM

It’s that time of year when the State Fair announces the new foods for the Great Minnesota Get-Together, which of course is always followed by the less-known Great Minnesota Go-Apart. Whenever the list of novel comestibles is announced, people get a strained smile: “Oh that all sounds different! I’ll have to try it!” Inside they are weeping, because Summer is Over.

Well, no. It’s not. It’s months away, The Fair. Granted, the smallest number of months that can be considered plural, but …


With pleasure. One of the new foods is, indeed, beer ice cream, something heretofore never invented. Possibly for a reason. Beer is a flavor that belongs in one thing, and that is beer. The absence of Beer Cereal (Beerios!) or Beer-Flavored Cupcakes ought to prove that.

There’s beer in some brats, of course, but I’ve never been able to taste it, and I think it’s there just so Wisconsinites can think, “I am drinking beer while eating beer. Awesome.” But beer gelato sounds interesting. Question: If you bring some back to the car, and it melts, can you be cited for open container?

That is an actual food. Here are some others. Not all are real. You decide which are plausible, and which are fanciful.

• Chicken in the Waffle: I’ve never had a waffle and thought, “Missing something. Poultry?” but the frontiers of food are ever pushed forward by the people who dream up new combinations. Next year: Duck Pancakes; Gooseliver Crêpes.

• Caramel Apple Ice Cream: R&R Ice Cream’s own tractor-churned vanilla ice cream. Ever had ice cream and thought “man, you can really taste the tractor, can’t you?” I assume this means the ice cream is churned by a tractor engine, but it does seem like using a rocket engine to charbroil some shrimp.

• Gluten-Free Lutheran Coffee.

• Bison Dog: It’s made from a large, temperamental source of meat. Bonus: Unlike most hot dogs, you can actually name one ingredient.

• Deep-Fried Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs on a Stick: Sustainably delicious, with a crunchy center! Not for the mercury-intolerant.

• Three-foot-long Gnaw-Stix: A great source of fiber, and you can work on them all day. (Previously known as the complimentary yardsticks people are always carrying around for no discernible reason.)

• Breakfast Jucy Lucy: Because nothing starts your day at the fair like looking up at the clear blue sky, noting the few puffy clouds, feeling the soft breeze of late summer on your face, then seeing the fellow over you with the paddles shouting CLEAR.

• Jell-O Salad on a Stick: It’s wiggly-riffic! Contains flecks of carrots and celery entombed in a cylinder, topped with whipped cream. Served by a nice lady who looks like your mom in the fair’s first underground restaurant, decorated like a church basement. It smells vaguely of burnt wax and Old Spice.

• A Blankety-blank hamburger because you drag the kids to the fair and try to get them to try something new and all they want is a Blankety-blank hamburger. No it doesn’t come with a toy. For crying out loud. Served with a side of Oh Fer Blank’s Sake Fries.

• Bratwurst Mit Shingles (no description given).

• Korean BBQ Collar with Kimchi Pickles: These can be dangerous; kimchi has a way of coming back at you, or rather anyone in your immediate vicinity. If you expel kimchi effluences near the barns, even the cows are going to turn their heads in your direction. Dude. Duuuuuude.

• Bacon-wrapped Turkey Leg: Just like it sounds, this one marries delicious smoked bacon with the entire limb of a turkey, which you eat while walking around because the bone is Nature’s Stick. If the turkey wasn’t meant to be eaten God wouldn’t have given it a handle.

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