Minnesota State Fair

The Scarlet Pumpernickel: Winning a Red Ribbon for My State Fair Bread

The last time I entered a cooking contest was twenty-seven years ago.

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A Sampling of the “Land of 10,000 Beers” Exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair

It's a fine time to be a fan of locally crafted beer and to live in Minnesota. Of the nearly 50 Minnesotan breweries listed on MNBeer.com, 26 have opened in the past two years alone (with several more slated to open in the next 18 months). Everywhere you go, people with a pint in their hand are voicing the same idea on the subject: “Can you believe how much new and delicious beer there is here?” This is inevitably followed by, “We're so lucky,” and then, the caveat, “But, wow, is it getting difficult to keep up.”


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The Unofficial SGT Best and Worst Of The Fair

Imagine, if you can - six hours at the Minnesota State Fair without a single crispy, glistening Fresh French Fry or cheese curd; deprived of even one warm, melty Sweet Martha’s chocolate cookie; nary a sweet, cool lick of an ice cream cone from the long line at the Dairy Building. I know, impossible. But it was done, for you, readers. Armed with a friend, a pile of cash, and an empty stomach, I set off on a quest to skip the usual suspects and try some of the Fair’s most unique foods. Here is what we found… 


Hands-down Loser: Chocolate Covered Jalapeno from Andre’s Watermelon Fit for the trashFit for the trash

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Soda Love Shack: State Fair Find

As a small child, I can recall there being times when I would visit my grandparents and hear tales of fountain soda shops after school and all the amazing flavors and options that the "soda jerk" could prepare. Surely this was the place where kids would spend their allowance and gossip with their classmates. Granted there are still a few old-school, quality shops around town but not like the good ol' days....or so I will have to imagine.

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Eco-experience At The State Fair

I have a confession. Up until this year, I was terrible at state-fairing. I always went with grandiose plans to learn new things, experience the unknown and eat modestly. In the end, the cheese curds won, my digestion lost and I would end up in the poultry building in a sort of grease induced hallucination totally enchanted by the cacophony of bird noises.

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Healthful Fair Food? Yes!

The Minnesota State Fair opens today. Scores of visitors, including me, will flock to see animals, listen to music, admire crafts, and, perhaps most famously, eat food, much of it on a stick. Since State Fair visits are an annual treat, I give myself leeway for things like draft root beer, sugared mini donuts and fried cheese curds not normally on my menu.

This doesn't mean that I eat huge amounts of whatever I encounter at the fair. Moderation at the fair is different from moderation every day, but it's still possible. If there's a choice of sizes, I always order the small, and share it to have money and stomach space for more throughout the day. I can sample lots of different foods, some healthful, many not. Sharing is one of the benefits of going with friends and family.

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Book Review: Ana Micka’s "The Fresh Girl’s Guide to Easy Canning and Preserving"

I grew up in rural Minnesota, where my parents have a big back yard with an abundant vegetable garden, and where every summer brings a plethora of tomatoes, peppers, and onions. My mom is a canner, and she taught me there's really only one way to deal with all of these summer foods: canning. My mom spends plenty of time in the kitchen in August and September, peeling, chopping, and stewing the season's bounty. After all is said and done, several clean, hot jars of salsa sit on towels on the kitchen counter. My mom waits in the other room, listening for the sealing “pop,” counting to be sure each jar has properly sealed itself.

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Best Fair Food: Peaches and Cream!

At Simple Good and Tasty this week, we're focusing on the 2010 Minnesota State Fair. So instead of recipes for your CSA box, I wanted to showcase one of the best new foods at the fair, the Peaches and Cream parfait from Salty Tart at the Produce Exchange booth, located across from the International Bazaar.

I first heard about it in July in this post by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl on the Dara & Co. blog at Minnesota Monthly's website: 

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Gifts From the Minnesota State Fair That Aren't Deep-Fried or on Sticks

It’s often difficult to remember that the fair is about more than just food. Because, well, we quite like the food. Local, ethnically diverse and deep-fried qualities notwithstanding, we simply love the food at the state fair. And we all justify our indulgence with the knowledge that it’s just a one-time-a-year fling. Yet, there’s more to the fair than just food. So, what if we wanted to enjoy the fair more than just once a year?

Short of winning yourself a blue ribbon for a baked good or a prize hog, what else can you take home from the fair? Better yet, what kinds of gifts can you find that can deliver the essence of the fair to someone you love? I decided to poke around and find out. Here are my favorite food and food-related gifts to find at the Minnesota State Fair:

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Tips for Making the State Fair Fun for the Whole Family

My husband and I are not native Minnesotans; we moved here from Philadelphia in the late 1990s. Once we got here, we were happy to discover that there's much more to living here than enduring those long, hard winters. One of the most weird and wonderful discoveries was the Minnesota State Fair. Fair-savvy friends first took us in 1999, and I haven't missed a year since. Even when our first son was a week old. I went; he stayed home.

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