Monday, August 22, 2016

A Trip To The Illinois State Fair

It's nice to see that, in spite of the ongoing budget stalemate going on in Illinois, we're still able to find enough funding to run the Illinois State Fair. Historically, the first state fairs were essentially agricultural trade shows organized by farmers in order to compare notes with each other and distinguish between good and bad advice. In the advent of World War II, as America's workforce transitioned to a post-Agrarian model, state fairs became more entertainment oriented.

Is This The Pinnacle Of Culinary Achievement?
This year marked my first ever visit to the Illinois State Fair. First off, I have to say that the price was right because our kids got in free due to their ages and my wife and I were handed free tickets by a random stranger who happened to have two extras with her. Still, even with the cost of admission, the Illinois State Fair offers a lot of bang for the buck. Mostly, I was there for the food. I will say that I was hoping for something more akin to Taste of Chicago where various restaurants come out, rent a booth, and offer some of their more flashy fare. It's a bit disappointing that the Illinois State Fair seems to attract mainly carnival food vendors. Still, an attendee with a more discerning palate can, with a little patience, sniff out some of the more exotic foods hiding among the rabble. I enjoyed a very passable pirogi in the ethnic center. I did also slum it and get a fried Twinkie which I found to be decidedly mediocre (too much corn dog batter).

Thanks to the many exhibits that the Illinois State Fair hosted on agriculture, wildlife, politics and citizenship, I learned quite about about the goings on in our state. Most importantly, I learned the difference between a corn dog and a pronto pup. Once upon a time, I thought that a pronto pup was just a cute name for a corn dog. But the Illinois State Fair opened my eyes. Turns out that a corn dog is a hot dog fried in cornbread batter while pronto pups are fried in pancake batter. Although both options were available at the Illinois State Fair, I didn't have either of them. I was, however, on the lookout for a corn brat or a cheesy corn dog, but, alas, neither seemed to be available. My kids were content with the many varieties of ice cream available, especially Dippin' Dots. And, of course, there were many different varieties of  popcorn from kettle corn to multiflavored and colored. And, one of the big highlights for me was encountering the tent. There I could sample various different types of meat in convenient jerky form. They had everything from alligator to kangaroo. No zebu, though. Damn.

They Really Like To Jerk Their Meat!

No comments:

Post a Comment