QUIZ: Which Of These State Fair Foods Are Faux?

Jul 17, 2014
Originally published on July 22, 2014 7:13 am

It is the season of state fairs, when you may have a chance to expand your palate or test your gag reflex at the concession stands. (Once you're stuffed, maybe you'll get to admire a butter sculpture.)

If it can be dipped in batter or put on a stick, someone is probably trying to sell it on a fairground. The Iowa State Fair boasts "60 delectable items available on-a-stick," including some new additions for 2014: chocolate-covered chunky bacon maple nougat on-a-stick and tater dog on-a-stick.

The combinations seem to get more elaborate and outrageous every year.

And so, the team at All Things Considered was inspired to put its "state fair food sense" to the test. Would our gut instincts help us distinguish between what's actually being served and some faux fair foods?

Play along here on The Salt!

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It is the season of state fairs - a chance to expand your palate or test your gag reflex.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

If it can be batter-dipped or put on a stick, someone is thinking about how to sell it on a fairground.

SIEGEL: And the combinations seem to get more elaborate and more outrageous every year.

CORNISH: So our producers were inspired to put our state fair food senses to the test to see if our gut instincts could help us distinguish between what's actually being served and some faux fair foods. So, Robert, we both have lists here. I guess, fire away.

SIEGEL: OK, Audie. The California State Fair is underway now. Which of these items is real? First, double-fried honey cicadas presented on a leaf-shaped funnel cake. The second, a cheeseburger stuffed with macaroni and cheese on a Krispy Kreme bun. And your final choice, a Sriracha-flavored jumbo gummy worm on a stick, of course.

(SOUNDBITE OF TIMER)

CORNISH: Can't go wrong with Sriracha, I think, right? That's kind of a trend now.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

SIEGEL: I'm sorry. The correct answer is a cheeseburger stuffed with macaroni and cheese...

CORNISH: Of course. (Laughing)

SIEGEL: ...On a Krispy Kreme bun.

CORNISH: Of course. OK, Robert, your turn.

SIEGEL: OK.

CORNISH: At the Indiana State Fair, which of these items will actually be served next month? A hot beef sundae - it's layered with mashed potatoes, marinated beef, gravy, cheese, corn sprinkles and a cherry tomato. Number two, vegan surprise - a tofu and kale salad with a hidden cube of calf liver inside. And finally, beer-battered turkey drumsticks drizzled with fudge.

(SOUNDBITE OF TIMER)

SIEGEL: I'm going to go with the beef item.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CORNISH: That is the correct answer.

SIEGEL: Sounded like and Indiana menu to me.

(Laughing)

SIEGEL: Now, let's try one more. In Minnesota, fair-goers can enjoy which of the following treats in late August? First, grilled rattlesnake on a stick. The skin is peeled off but available separately - toasted. Your next choice, dessert walleye dusted with cinnamon sugar, fried and paired with a Jell-O salad. Or dessert salami - chocolate, butter, almonds and walnuts rolled into a distinctive salami shape.

(SOUNDBITE OF TIMER)

CORNISH: Ugh. I hear butter and I think fairground. Is that the real one?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SIEGEL: In the dessert salami - you're absolutely right.

CORNISH: Aha.

SIEGEL: That will be served at the Minnesota State Fair.

CORNISH: (Laughing) Alright, we're out of time but I did want to give a shout-out to the Wisconsin State Fair, which begins later this month. It will be serving battered Cajun shark on a stick - served, Robert, with a special Cajun ranch sauce.

SIEGEL: They know how to do it in Wisconsin. Well, thanks for playing along and bon appetit. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.