Apron Free Cooking ~ Fair Food
By Noel Lizotte
The county fair means different things to people. I’ve heard folks talking about how they can’t wait to ride all those twirling rides. I’ve heard people discussing the best way to load livestock and haul feed into the fair grounds. Other people have commented that they are looking forward to the displays in the merchant building, 4-H barns and midway games.
Mostly though, I’ve heard people talking about the “Fair Food.” It seems like there’s a variety of food reasons to go to the fair. Elephant Ears are quite popular. Homemade ice cream is high on the list. Fair Fries (with a ton of vinegar, of course) are mentioned just before a glazed-over-eyes expression crosses the speaker’s face. Lemon shakes, hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, and the Lykens Fire Department’s food tent have all made the list too.
I understand why people look forward to the fair. I remember spending long days at the 4-H barn and anticipating what specialty of “Fair Food” I was going to eat for supper. We didn’t purchase all our meals from the food vendors. We packed our breakfast, lunch and snacks from home and had the treat of supper to look forward to. Most often our supper was purchased from the 4-H food stand.
With five kids tagging along, my mother got to be a real expert at packing food for the day. She was especially good at packing food that would survive the heat and long hours of a day at the fair. We ate lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We munched our way through bags of potato chips. We nibbled more than our share of Oreo cookies. We drank gallons of Country Time Lemonade and Wyler’s Grape Drink.
Tips for packing food for the fair:
1. Use a cooler and ice packs to keep meat and mayonnaise based salads cool.
2. Wrap sandwiches individually to make it easy for 4-Hers to grab a bite between judging events.
3. Pack an entire jar of peanut butter, jelly and a whole loaf of bread if you plan to make sandwiches as you go throughout the day.
4. Water bottles and the individual flavor packs that are available now provide a variety of beverages to choose from. Keep a few water bottles cold in the cooler with ice and replace with new ones as the cold ones are used.
5. Mini carrots and apples are easy to add vegetables and fruits to the menu without worrying about cooking or preparation.
Enjoy the fair and all the wonderful food they offer on the midway! But if you plan to spend the entire week at the fair, pack some meals so your food budget doesn’t go sky high. You’ll also be able to enjoy the special treats even more if you’re not worried about offsetting the nutritional value of pink cotton candy!
Noel Lizotte is breaking free of corporate stress with convenience cooking! Her just release cookbook is available at www.apronfreecooking.com. She also writes a monthly column at www.culinarychat.net.