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Summer, food go together

posted: September 10. 2018 09:53a CST
by / Jenessa Freidhof, Regional Editor |

In my mind, the flip of the calendar from August to September marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. School is in session, leaves are turning and pumpkin stands and corn mazes are popping up across the countryside. Despite the calendar telling me though, it is hard to believe that the hot summer days are behind us for another year.

Looking back over the past three months, summer was busy, flying by in a whir of fairs, pasture walks, road trips and the overarching theme of food. From garden-fresh veggies to fried favorites, I’ve enjoyed a lot of yummy creations all summer long.

I love the garden-fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans that I can go out and pick right from my garden. And the watermelons and sweet corn that I can pick up from a local store or roadside stand. But besides these healthy snacks, summer always brings a “healthy” mixture of fair and road trip specialties.

Each year there are foods that I must have while visiting my local and county fairs. These usually include deep-fried Oreos, cheese curds and French fries. Then I almost always have to pick up a big bag of kettle corn and a slushie too. Besides these old favorites, I also make a point to try new things, willing a few minutes of courage to try the food oddities. With trips to the Iowa and Minnesota state fairs this year, there were a few of these odd foods on my list.

In Iowa, I had my first fried chicken gizzard, chicken liver and Rocky Mountain oyster. I am happy to report that they all were pretty good, but I think my favorite were the Rocky Mountain oysters. We also sampled an apple pie eggroll, which won best new food at the Iowa State Fair this year.

My family’s annual trip to the Minnesota State Fair did not disappoint either. We had our bucket of chocolate chip cookies and all-you-can-drink milk. We also stopped for a mini donut beer and an order of garlic fries, things that have become staples during our trip to the “Great Minnesota Get-Together.” Although we didn’t have as many adventurous foods in Minnesota, the ones we did try were pretty tasty, including smelt, Reuben bites and a coconut-lime shake.

After a summer of eating and endless running, I realized that I missed out on one very important fair food this year: the funnel cake. To make up for it, my brother and I made them one night and they turned out pretty good. I guess we won’t have to spend the money of those from now on.

Besides fair food, an early August road trip to Ohio brought my mom and I another first: sugar cream pie. The custard-like Indiana state pie was a sweet treat for our short trip and I would recommend it to anyone traveling out that way.

As much as I like summer and all the tasty treats it brings, I am looking forward to the fall season. Our apple tree is loaded with fruit and I can almost smell the fresh apple crisp we will have soon. I guess what they always told me of being a bottomless pit is ringing pretty true. Just gearing up for winter.

And with another road trip on the horizon, this time to Memphis, I’m sure to have some more opportunities to try new foods soon. To be honest, I’ve already researched the local fare I need to try.

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