Sunday, October 23, 2011

North Carolina State Fair 2011

I love going to the State Fair.  I didn't get to go when I was young.  Spruce Pine was just too far away from the big city of Raleigh.  My city-dwelling cousin would invite me down every year and every year I would long to make that trip and see what it was all about.  But it just was never to be until I moved to Durham after college. 
This year, my advisees talked me into taking them after school.  We loaded up the mini-bus and away we went.  Signora decided to go with me so that I would have a buddy.  (The kids were worried about me.)  Never go to the State Fair with someone who doesn't like to eat.  That's my motto.  She was the perfect buddy!
So, roasted ears of corn were first.
Signora enjoyed hers tremendously... a little lemon salt and pepper sprinkled on, sticking to the melted butter. 

Next on our Fair food tour- sweet potato fries.
They were pretty good.  Not great.  Maybe if they had been cut thicker?
Amish fudge was irresistible.   The plain chocolate was way better than the chocolate peanut butter.
We only ate a bite.  Really.  We actually brought some home to share with our husbands.
When we first arrived, I spotted this guy bobbing in the breeze.
Skeptical?  Oh yes.  Sure, I thought.  After a couple of rounds, though, I had to check it out.

I crept a little closer...  Ok, just to see if he had a real crêpe maker, like the crêpe makers in Paris, you know.
Oui, it was authentic.  His little kitchen trailer was immaculate.  He offered Nutella crêpes.  How could I resist?  Ordering time.  Lo and behold, a real French-speaking Belge.  Who would've thought?  He is currently living in Charlotte (a city that doesn't allow food trucks... tsk tsk).  He insisted that I take his photo with his masterpiece.
Now, the taste-test.  Sure, looks matter, but it has to taste good, too.
A satisfied customer.
We ran across this sign next.
Which led to this one-
Which led us into a tent where Chef Benjamin was holding court.  Another Frenchie.  A Parigot this time.  I spoke one word, oui, and he pronounced me Québecoise.  No, I said, I spent a summer there, but most recently I lived in Arles and worked with a chef.  To which he replied that I certainly did not sound Provençale.  No kidding, Chef.  No one but a Provençal sounds Provençal.  We sampled his bread and moved on.
We met back up with the kiddies and sampled the latest craze in State Fair food.
Two of the boys had bought some.
Looks kind of like intestines, doesn't it?  Gross, Mme E.  It didn't go over too well with anyone in the group.  Most of it went into the trashcan.  Kool-Aid powder mixed with funnel cake dough, in case you're wondering how Kool-Aid can possibly be fried.
There were lots of other things to try, but I had had my fill.
But we got some exercise walking around the barn and checking out the cows.
We bought omelet bowls for each other from a Blowing Rock potter.
We strolled around admiring the vegetables and fruit, including a huge award-winning pumpkin weighing in at 522.8 pounds.
And another one decorated to look like a BBQ sandwich.
We all had fun and could've stayed longer than our allotted three hours.  It was a school night, though, and one young man had already won a stuffed Jamaican banana taller than him by tossing rings on beer bottles, so it was time to call it a night. 
Bon appétit, NC State Fair!  See you next year!

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