State Fair deadlines

Many call it the Great Minnesota Get-Together, but for denizens of the Creative Activities Building, the State Fair is the Great Cutthroat Competition. In a good way, of course. Registration deadline for entering baking, canning and special contests is 4:30 p.m. Aug. 5. Pre-registration is mandatory.

You can register online at www.mnstatefair.org: Click on "competition" and select the link for "Creative Activities" to view the premium book and rules. For further info, send e-mail to competition@mnstatefair.org or call 651-288-4417.

Vintage recipes

The Farmer's Wife was a monthly magazine published in Minnesota in an era when supper meant a trip to the henhouse and simple food provided a great deal of comfort, thanks to being prepared with love and resourcefulness.

Now Lela Nargi, a freelance writer from New York, has collected more than 300 of the recipes published between 1893 and 1939 to come up with "The Farmer's Wife Comfort Food Cookbook" (Voyageur Press, $14.95).

It's an unusual sampling -- a historical reference as much as a cookbook -- with several recipes using hominy, pages of puddings, and reproductions of actual pages, such as the one touting "finger salads," which today we call a platter of raw veggies.

Top dogs

What are the best hot dogs to throw on the grill? The online site AOL Food (www.food.aol.com/grilling/best-hot-dogs) did a taste test and not a single chicken, turkey or tofu dog made the top 20.

Third place went to Ball Park Angus Beef Franks, second place went to Nathan's Koseph Premiums Beef Franks and top-rated were Hebrew National Reduced Fat Beef Franks. Yup, reduced-fat.

Which means we can eat more, right?

Co-op history

Co-ops have a long, proud history in Minnesota. Now Martin Brown, a produce staffer at Eastside Food Co-op, 2551 Central Av. NE. in Minneapolis, has studied them for his senior academic project while a student at Antioch College in Ohio.

"Legacies and Impacts" traces the social, economic and environmental impacts of consumer food cooperatives here. Brown will host an artist talk and reception from 5-8 p.m. today at the co-op.

KIM ODE