The good, the bad and the ugly

Before you hit the entrance to the Minnesota State Fair, check out Rick Nelson’s review of the best — and not-so-best — options for dining al fresco at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. Find it online at

State Fair freebie

There’s still time to get a recipe on a stick (which serves as a fan for hot days) at the Star Tribune booth (Carnes Avenue at the end of the grandstand ramp). The recipe for Orange Chocolate Cookies is from the soon-to-be-published “The Great Minnesota Cookie Book” (by Rick Nelson and me). Stop by Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. for a copy and let’s talk cookies! And ask for the latest Star Tribune lip balm, Traffic Cone, which tastes like, well, consider the color of the cone itself. That’s all we can tell you. Lip balm is available at the Strib booth each day at 9 a.m. and again at 3:30 p.m. until supplies run out for the day.

Cage-free animal crackers

The cages are gone and the animals roam free on boxes of the famous Nabisco snack Barnum’s Animals Crackers, on the market since 1902. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had been urging the parent company, Mondelez International, for a change since 2016. In the meantime, Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus closed permanently and more than 80 U.S. cities have at least partly banned circuses with wild animals, according to news reports. The new box cover shows a zebra, elephant, lion, giraffe and gorilla in a grassland.

“When PETA reached out about Barnum’s, we saw this as another great opportunity to continue to keep this brand modern and contemporary,” Jason Levine, Mondelez’s chief marketing officer for North America, told the Associated Press.

Lee Svitak Dean