Deep fried into oblivion, served with bacon

It’s hot, everybody is uncomfortable, and everywhere I turn it smells like a mix of recently exploded fireworks and swine; doesn’t it make you think of the Iowa State Fair?

The thick, sticky air, the irritable crowds pouring over each other to see that big carrot, the dulcet tones of Nickelback and Kid Rock wafting over the beer garden; a beautiful tableau of Iowans in celebration. And the perfect backdrop for your one and only goal of attending the Iowa State Fair: eating until you hate yourself, then getting some ice cream.

This past week the Iowa State Fair’s pool of mad food scientists released their latest concoctions upon our unsuspecting populace and, once again, your faithful columnist will be happy to illuminate the subtle nuances of flavor and texture hidden within every bacon stuffed Oreo.

Apple Taco

“Apple taco is a soft shelled tortilla deep fat fried sprinkled with cinnamon/sugar filled with granny smith apples topped with whip cream and caramel.”

In theory it sounds pretty good, but I want you to imagine something. It’s hot, you’re hungry, and you just bought a taco consisting of only sour cream and tomatoes. Now take a big bite out of it … what happened? Was it a hand full of sour cream? Now, replace the sour cream with ice cream, the tomatoes with apples, and your mild embarrassment with being swarmed by hungry flies.

Bauder Mud

“Cream Cheese Brownie Chunks, drenched in a chocolate shake, topped with whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate syrup and served in a Bauder Skillet. Requires a straw and spoon.”

Going to be honest here: I don’t know how to pronounce that word. Bow-dur? Bo-dur? I don’t know how to say it. But I DO know how to say “tell your children to stop throwing their skillets off the ski lift.” Avoid the skillet, avoid the lawsuit.

Sweet Potato TotChos

“Sweet potato tater tots with a marshmallow and caramel sauce drizzled over top.”

You know that sweet potato recipe people make at Thanksgiving that’s just some orange mush with two pounds of marshmallows on it that somehow avoids placement on the dessert table? Ok … THAT, but in “tot” form, and with caramel.

And speaking of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Balls

“Traditional vegetables along with Iowa Grown Turkey all rolled into a ball, breaded with herb infused stuffing, deep fried and drizzled with sweet & spicy cranberry sauce.”

Finally! A chance to ball up Thanksgiving and serve it three months early! What I love most about the balling is the portability, because what requires movement more than that most kinetic of holidays, Thanksgiving.

Cheesy Fried Enchilada Funnel Cake

“Corn meal batter flavored with enchilada spices. Fried as a funnel cake, topped with Chorizo and White Queso. (This is not dessert.)”

Ya think?! Of course this isn’t a dessert, desserts rarely involve chorizo, let alone “enchilada spices.” This is basically a funnel cake trap; it looks like a funnel cake so you take a big bite and WHAM chorizo, right in the face.

Pancake Taco

“Breakfast taco filled with scrambled eggs, cheese, sausage and bacon with pancake as the shell with syrup drizzled over the top.”

You know what? No. I am saying “no” to this offering. You can’t just co-opt a morning hangover cure from college and tell people it’s real food AND have the gall to charge me $4.50.

Iowa’s Big Pork Leg

“A pork shank that is Iowa raised and smoked to perfection with a sweet Caribbean seasoning.”

They’re not even trying. It’s just a big piece of pork and I don’t care how “Caribbean” your spices claim to be, this is just a cooked pig. Make no mistake: this thing takes all the culinary skill necessary to produce a decent grilled cheese.

Bruschetta Sundae “Mt. Vesuvius”

It’s not a sundae, it’s bread with a bunch of cheese and grapes and olives. I would have printed their description, but it was a Homeric epic of lofty claims and patently fake words like “ciabatta” and “balsamic.” Also- no volcano. #notmyVesuvius.

Golden Fry Choco Pocko

“A crispy golden fried bread pocket of creamy chocolate-Flavored hazelnut spread on a stick and then dusted with powdered sugar.”

You know those fruit pies they sell at the checkout line? You know how they make a chocolate version of those? Put it on a stick, deep-fry it again, and you’ve got yourself a Pocko, Choco!

Rah! Edible Cook E Dough

“Raw Edible Safe Cookie Dough comes in multiple flavors: “Chip off the Ole Block,” “You make me Snicker,” “Double Choc Brownie Chunk,” “Its your Birthday” and “The Monster” (Gluten Free).”

Cookie dough isn’t safe to eat because of the flour, not the eggs like many assume. So this cookie dough is safe to eat, which means this cookie dough doesn’t have flour, which means this cookie dough isn’t cookie dough but some kind of stealth vegan nonsense trying to trick me out of real cookie dough and real E. coli. For shame!

Fruit & Chocolate Fondue

“The Fruit and Chocolate Fondue includes strawberries, or a combination of strawberries, pineapples and blackberries to dip into premium dark dipping chocolate.”

If you don’t know what fondue is, get your Delorean up to 88 m.p.h. and go back to the 70s. If you’re wondering why this disco swinger staple is considered new food for the Fair, get in line.

Chocolate Lava Cake

“A slice of chocolate cake topped with vanilla soft serve and hot fudge.”

So they opened up a Dominos on the Grand Concourse. Great. But Papa John is going to be furious.

Campfire Cones

“The Campfire Cones come in 6 different flavors and is wrapped in a waffle cone ready for the heat. Contents include: graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate bits and topped with a toasted marshmallow.”

… dang it, that sounds good.

There it is, the arsenal of gastrointestinal weaponry available for a limited time only and at refreshingly high prices! Tell you what, you go get in line now and I’ll meet you there … I’m just going to pick up some waffle cones and marshmallows … no reason.


Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Sunday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or