What’s Your Favorite Festival and Fair Food?

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People are lured to county and state fairs for all sorts of reasons – carnival rides, clowns, petting zoos, tractor pulls, and 4-H exhibits. Others come for the stunts, races, music, parades, and of course fair food!

There are community groups hosting food stands all over the fairgrounds. They offer a smorgasbord of fair treats, from brats and turkey legs to ice cream and root beer floats. Fair-goers can see and enjoy funnel cakes being made as well as cotton candy.

It is reported that the Iowa State Fair will have five new foods on a stick this year. “Fair Squares” will have squares of crispy rice cereal and marshmallows in plain or peanut butter flavor on a stick. An “Octodog”, will make its first appearance at the fair. It is a mini-sausage shaped like an octopus. Octodogs are not only fun, but may be a safer way to serve and eat hotdogs. The hotdog is among the top ten items found on many lists concerning choking occurrences in young children. This is especially true when the hotdog is cut crosswise. When they are cut the long way, or linear, they are less likely to cause choking in children.

Octodogs can be made at home. There are tools for cutting the hot dogs, but they can be hand sliced as well, cutting the dog up to about an inch from one end. The trick to getting good results is to briefly freeze the sausage for 20 minutes to firm things up before cutting. Using a cooking spray like Pam on the cutting blade and then boiling or frying briefly helps to fan out the hotdog creating the octopus effect. If you’re feeling super-ambitious, you can decorate octodogs with little eyes and mouths. Stick sesame or other seeds onto the head with a little honey, or use cream cheese or another sticky spread to affix little round cutouts of sliced cheese for the facial features.

Another food on a stick to be featured will be “Twinkie Logs”. These are frozen Twinkies dipped in white chocolate and rolled in nuts and dipped in white chocolate. Other new frozen confections will include tiramisu, turtle mousse and strawberry-cream flavored bars.

I can almost taste the chocolate, nuts, and caramel sauce in the turtle mousse. What’s a fair-goer to do?  Is this the one exception to eating healthy?  Where are the fruits and vegetables and other low-fat, low/no sugar foods? Only in the 4-H garden produce exhibit areas, I suppose.

What are your favorite foods when you go to the fair?

I’d love to hear your comments on how you handle festivals, children, and healthy foods.

Lee Jackson
Home and Family Living Coach

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