What's a visit
to the Iowa State Fair
without eating something on-a-stick? And the Granddaddy of all
fried-foods-on-a-stick is the corn dog.
Which begat the foot-long corn dog. And the only proper
condiment in my humble opinion: a slather of yellow mustard.
Another fine food-on-a-stick, and a very Iowan one at that, is Pella
bologna-on-a-stick. It's a mouthful.
A "must have" at
the Iowa State Fair is the Jennie Grinder. The sandwich consists
of loose-meat Italian pork sausage, packed into a hoagie roll,
topped with shredded mozzarella and melted. The sausage
seasoning is a proprietary family recipe, tasting rather like a
cross between Italian sausage and Mexican chorizo. Also
available year-round at Sandwiches by Reca [see
If you can brave
the climb up the hill past the Heritage Village, you'll find the
Buckskinners Camp and the fry bread taco, the closest thing
you'll find to Tasty Tacos
at the Fair. The ground beef is simple and unseasoned. But pile
on the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese and salsa and you've
got a mound of food! If you can handle more big food, Bauder's Peppermint Ice
Cream bar awaits your pleasure. Hands down the biggest ice cream
sandwich you'll ever sink your teeth into. Beware of brain
grinder is the legendary Gizmo,
served up at both the Iowa and Minnesota State Fairs, and at
Urbandale, Iowa's Fourth of July celebrations. Similar to the
Jennie Grinder, but made with a mix of ground beef and Italian
sausage, and an added layer of seasoned tomato sauce atop the
meat before mozzarella is applied and melted. If you like your
grinder saucy and a little less spicy, I recommend the Gizmo.