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Judy Spooner Viewpoint: Recipe for a good State Fair trip includes sugar, salt and fat

Let's face it. You go to the Minnesota State Fair because it's a tradition. Also, you go to eat stuff you don't eat any other time of the year.

Bring on the three basic food groups: sugar, salt and fat. Even if you'll need Roto-Rooter to clean out your pipes, you're going for it.

I love the state fair.

Until I was a teenager, I wasn't allowed to go to the fair because my mother feared that my sister, brother and I would get polio. But when the epidemics abated, we got to go. It was the wonderland of sights, sounds and smells I thought it would be.

If you have yet to plan your trip to the fair, take a tip from our family and take the bus from the Cottage Grove Park and Ride. You go right to the gate and can get to the food sooner.

I looked at some of the state fair food being offered this year and I have a few suggestions.

Start your day with three breakfast sliders at the Ragin Cajun in The Garden made with Cajun sausage, steak and ham. Cajun sausage, while tasty, is spicy.

There are deep-fried cheese curds but you either love them or not. There is no middle ground. You have to stand in line, but if you're in a hurry, there's no waiting at the fresh fruit booth.

There are foods at the fair that are, some would say, "adventuresome."

You can get a camel burger at Safari Express or beef tongue tacos at the Senora Grill, both in the Taste of Midtown in the International Bazaar. I'll pass.

If you're a vegetarian, you're probably not at the state fair, but if you are, there are eggplant tacos or fries available at Senora Grill. I'm not sure you can call them French.

I've been assured poutines are very popular in Canada, but I'm saving myself for other stuff. Duke's Poutine is a new fair vendor next to the all-you-can-drink milk bar. It's a cup of French fries topped with hot gravy and cheddar cheese curds.

You could also get a Yosemite SAMwich, a bun filled with spicy taco meat, nacho cheese sauce, bacon bits and crispy onion triangles at the Frontier Bar on Carnes Avenue.

There are some foods that I might add to my list of state fair treats including bacon ice cream, with grilled and candied bacon. It's available at Rainbow ice cream stands.

Cereal Killer ice cream is soft serve ice cream served with chocolate breakfast cereal than can be topped with banana caramel sauce or honey nut cereal topped with strawberry balsamic at Blue Moon.

Chocolate peanut butter cup fudge puppies are sold at Granny's Kitchen Fudge.

I'm definitely going to have a red velvet funnel cake at Smoothies and Jurassic Dogs across from the Pet Center.

Part of the fun is in the anticipation. I'm looking forward to sitting on a curb, among some trash in the hot sun with a million other people and the smell of fried food in the air, eating onion rings with the fat pooling in the bottom of the cardboard tray. There's nothing like it.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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