What's Minnesota's budget meal secret? Food with a handle
The most celebrated item of the Fair? Anything on a stick. And I mean anything. In fact, the dominance of the category has become an attraction unto itself: Souvenir shops sells t-shirts with checklists for all the sticked munchies on sale each year. In eras past, only the poorest people fried food on a regular basis, mostly because it could mask spoiled ingredients or compensate for a lack of leafy greens. But in modern America, fried food is a staple, and it's pretty much become Americana in an edible form. It's still cheap, too.
I visited the storied Fair this year -- and saw Garrison Keillor perform -- with a mission to document as many foods on a stick as I could. And I found plenty, from plain old corn dogs to a surprising Italian pasta dish rendered a la stick. By my count, I found more than two dozen things on a stick, but maybe you can spot even more during my whirlwind tour of the 2009 fair and my visit to downtown Minneapolis.