Monday, August 20, 2012

Not without my funnel cake: the Iowa State Fair report 2012

TITLE: If you don’t like reading about fun then this is not the article for you. OR: How we spent Saturday getting our cornfed on. 

                                                        photo © Tonya Kehoe-Anderson 2012
“Iowa State Fair Misty-Colored Memories” Glamour shot
This self-pic  (with soft focus second pic overlay) features my jorts-clad thigh, my all-business Nike fanny pack and vintage plastic purple visor hangin’ from my fanny pack waist buckle.

We went to “the Fair.”  The Fair, you know, the one that Martha Stewart used to (still?) attends top-secret-like to recon the preserves, pies, crafts and all things homespun? Yes, I am talking about the Iowa State Fair, held in Des Moines every August.  To be sure, I am a late to the party in going to this annual event.  This year is only the second time I have ever attended, however, I am a most fervent and evangelical convert.

Why? Who cares? What’s the big deal about going to this damn Fair and why is she still capitalizing “fair” as “Fair?” Is Tonya German? I thought she was all about being so Irish? Will she ever stop with this odd capitalization tomfoolery? 
These are all questions that I know that you, dear reader, are asking me in your head. Right now. I get it. Now quit thinking about asking me questions and refocus because I have so much to tell you!
  The fair has been around since before the turn of the century (don’t make me Google it).  I saw the actual date (but promptly forgot it. 1854 maybe) on a globe sculpture in front of the “Ag” building where they make and show the life-size butter cow.  Let’s talk about the butter cow for just a sec. I did not take photos of that for you because every blogger takes pictures of that damn cow (the cow that looks the same every year and it is probably just kept in cold storage to fool us all). But not me, no, I took photos of deep-fried food  (of which everyone also always takes photos) and a dude carrying a backpack printed with a image of a nude woman wearing pot-leaf pasties (I can’t find that pic at this moment but if I find it, I will post it) and a fetus swathed in a poly stretch tube top (hang on and you shall be rewarded).

Let’s start off with this fact. FACT: Unconventional deep-fried food is an insanely brilliant fair food gimmick and I fell for it. HARD. Mostly for the edification of my dear readers, I purchased and tasted the following items:

1. Deep-Fried Oreos™
2. Deep-Fried Butter on a Stick
3. Jumbo Corn Dog
4. Iowa Pork Producers™ Grilled Pork Chop on a stick.

           Let’s go in order. The deep-Fried Oreos™ came in a basket that looked like this:

“Les Oreos Greaseaux™”           ©T.Kehoe-Anderson 2012

The cookies were double-stacked, drizzled with Hershey’s chocolate syrup and were actually very cake-y. Not very exciting or as naughty (I’m normally a very healthy eater) as I had hoped for.  I needed to BE BAD. REAL BAD. The “out of my zip code rule” kind of bad.

So, this brings me to number 2 on the list. Deep-fried stick of butter on a stick. It made me gag a little last year when I heard of it. But this year, I just needed more. I was different than last year. I needed the thrill. It looked like this:

                                ©T.Kehoe-Anderson 2012
  “La Beurre à la Carnivale du Cardiologiste” 


Iced with a little old-fashioned glaze, the butter on a stick smelled really good actually. Like a Krispy Kreme™ hot glazed donut. Was this renegade enough? No! It was no more rebellious than a damn chain-store donut! So the logical next step was captured in this photo:

XXX Heart-Breaker         ©T.Kehoe-Anderson 2012

I call this "fine art" photo, “XXX Heart-Breaker” because it is literally liquefied pooled interior butter dripping onto a deep-fried Oreo™. DID I EAT THIS? NO, HELL NO. I did not eat this. Are you nuts? I just wanted to see what would happen if I did it and I wanted to make great art that will stand the test of time (a.k.a. a masterpiece) Totally a success!  It looked awful but smelled really good and I am still trying to reconcile that disparity betwixt my head and my gut. Also, great artists submit iPhone photos to, right? Good.

Time for proteins. Obviously, this author is very concerned about gathering a well-balanced meal at the fair. It sure burns a lot of calories walking around all day trying to take photos of livestock testes (holy shit HUGE!), photobombing every possible stranger’s photos, relishing people’s interesting sartorial choices and not getting run over by people driving bogged-down Rascal carts.

Back to the list, so, the corn dog coating with mustard was good (I don’t like hot dogs) and the pork chop ($6) was amazing. Now that I am back at home, I kind of want to put all of our dinner meat on sticks, as it makes eating a million times more fun than slogging through boring old no-sticks meat.

Lastly, as I wrap this year’s Iowa State Fair report that no one actually asked me to write, I note that in places I have made up some authentic-sounding French words and I am not sure where that came from but, as is my wont, I am going with it so let’s all agree to not check any French dictionaries or consult any kind of language experts at all. Instead, let's look at a few more of these shall we?

 corndog on a stick with mustard

 porkchop on a stick w/ mustard

gestational tube toppery

...aaaaaand the scariest ride I would even consider riding.

OH! Plus the most emotional, most francais-looking picture I took all day...
working title: "where have all the cotton candy wads gone-slash-sadness"


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