Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich at the Minnesota State Fair
What is it that gets us so jazzed about new foods at the Minnesota State Fair? Is it the thrill of the hunt? The feeling when we find that little stand we’d never noticed before and dig into something totally unexpected, like Korean BBQ tacos at Shanghaied Henri’s? This thrill is at least partly driven by self-satisfaction, no?
Or is it short-term novelty we seek? Honestly, most of us who live even a semi-foodist life have an awareness of the food and ingredients we put in our bodies daily. We are label readers. We know some farmers. Kale is our friend. Except for 12 days a year when pickle dogs are our friends. Maybe that’s the root of the excitement. Like Halloween, the fair is a temporary permission slip to eat whatever the hell you want, high fructose corn syrup and trans fats be damned (kale will be back in September, after all).
Maybe, though, we love the fair because it’s one big, shared moment in which we drop our burdens and earnestness, take off the big-girl pants, and just let our inner-kid scream for ice cream at the Milk Barn. For me, it’s all of it, but mostly this last bit where I get to be part of something huge, celebratory, sticky, and bustling. Something that has little to do with religion, politics, or life problems and everything to do with dairy princesses, Skyrides, and Mini Donut Beer—if only for a precious slice of summer.