Iowa state fair food deep fried mac and cheese

Iowa State Fair Food – Or why I’ll never eat again

by Michael on August 8, 2012

The smell of the grease, the roar of the crowd! It’s that time of year again for the greatest eating frenzy of all time, the Iowa State Fair, which opens tomorrow.

Of all the food groups, one that never makes it on the government recommended food pyramid is fair food. I can’t imagine why. The greatest place to try fair food is the Iowa State Fair. This monument to gluttony is an annual event in the Hawkeye State. If it can be battered, deep-fried and shoved on a stick you can probably eat it in Des Moines during the third week of August.  In fact they pride themselves on having over forty types of food on a stick.

iowa state fair food

Food on a stick-Yum!

Among them are: Chocolate-covered tiramisu on-a-stick (New for 2010!), Turtle mousse bar on-a-stick, Twinkie log on-a-stick (frozen Twinkie dipped in white chocolate and rolled in cashews), Octodog (hotdog in the shape of an octopus-maybe it’s a tribute to Octomom), Pork chop on-a-stick , Corn dog, Cheese on-a-stick, Fried pickle on-a-stick, Deep fried Snickers bar on-a-stick, Deep fried Twinkie on-a-stick (let me repeat that, deep-fried Twinkie), Salad on-a-stick, Hard-boiled egg on-a-stick; okay you get the idea.

iowa state fair food

One way to get kids to eat their vegetables

The only vegetables available were deep-fried. I did see a booth selling pineapple spears and was going to get one until I realized that yes, they were batter dipped and deep-fried too. I am not exaggerating when I say that the booth offering the healthiest food was the one making Philly cheesesteaks, and that’s saying something. They were also one of the few foods that did not come on a stick.

Iowa state fair bull

That's a lot of bull

Don’t forget the double bacon dipped corn dogs

I do have to admit though that my one true regret on this trip is that I never could find the salad on a stick, I wanted to see how they could deep-fry that. Rumor is that this will be the first year for double bacon dipped corn dogs. Here’s the recipe: Wrap a piece of bacon around a hot dog and deep fry it, then dip the corn dog in bacon bit batter and deep-fry it again. Voila, a treat only a cardiologist seeking new patients would love.

Here’s a link to all the food at the Iowa State Fair.

What is your favorite fair food?

Barbara August 9, 2012 at 5:26 am

Hey there Michael & Larissa,
Now, if you well seasoned travelers are freaking out in this place, imagine a long-time expat… my senses are getting overloaded! In my normal return visits to America, I recognize that I have become a picky eater. That’s what life in France with lots of veggies and fruit did to me(and maybe an occasional patisserie or two).
Peace to you & Rocky.

Fred Allen Barfoot August 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Hey, Larissa and Michael, How does Iowa get squeezed between Scotland and Africa? Did you visit the Britannia in Edinburgh, and was the Fringe Festival on when you were there? Liked your choices of freebies in London — and I agree that the very best way to experience Westminster Cathedral is Evening Song, which I’ve done a number of times, as a resident in the 70s and as a visitor a year ago. You keep notching up in my list of Most Admired Adventurers. Keep it up! Cheers, Fred

Michael August 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Hi Fred,

Thanks for the feedback. Glad we’re rising on your list. We did get on board the Britannia and will be writing about it soon.



PS Iowa is from a prior trip but since the State Fair starts this week I just had to mention it.

Michael August 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Hi Barbara,

You can still get your fruits and veggies at the Iowa State Fair, they’ll just be batter-dipped and deep-fried.

Noah August 17, 2012 at 9:31 am

The bull looks like he ate too much of the foods on a stick.

Scott - Quirky Travel Guy September 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm

I got back from the Minnesota State Fair not long ago and they had very similar food items. No salad on a stick, but they did have spaghetti on a stick!

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