The Great Minnesota Get Together is well under way and hundreds of thousands of our friends and neighbors are stuffing their faces into the wee hours of each fair night.
Meanwhile last week we learned that Sweet Martha’s is now officially certified kosher and the kosher folk of the TC can now safely enjoy a bucket of warm chocolate chip cookies. Of course there are many fair foods that lend themselves to certification – everything from French fries and cheese curds to ice cream and mini donuts.
I imagine a lot of people are anticipating what classic fair food could be the next one to join Sweet Martha as certified kosher. Not me. As I was walking around the fairgrounds over the weekend, I came up with something even more fun – a fantasy that combines my love of the fair with my passion for Jewish foods. What about…wait for it…Jewish fair foods???
From what I know about the process for getting a new food into the fair, these are very unlikely – especially since we don’t even have a functioning deli. But it sure would be fun to incorporate some of these.
First, Jewish foods-on-a-stick:
Deep-fried matzoh balls – I’m thinking these could come in two sizes – small and on a stick or large to be eaten with a fork and knife. Served with a dill dipping sauce since I use a lot of dill in my chicken soup.
Knishes – These could be deep-fried or not. Where I come from, there is the classic potato, but also broccoli, spinach, mushroom, sweet potato, kasha, etc. I always put spicy brown mustard on my knishes, but the fillings could dictate how they’re served.
Pastrami – Most of us know pastrami sliced thin and piled high on sandwiches. In Montreal, pastrami is cut a little thicker, but still piled on a sandwich. What if someone took the whole brisket and cut it into slabs? Easily skewered and served with mustard, there is no way this wouldn’t be a hit.
Floats – you get the entire line of Dr. Brown’s sodas – even Cel-Ray – and make floats. Everyone does a root beer float, but what about a cream float or a black cherry float? It’s a no-brainer.
Deep-fried blintz – You take a standard blintz filled with cheese, bread or batter it, and deep-fry it. Then you top it with fruit, ice cream, whipped cream, etc. Once again, a no-brainer – plus it’s super fun to say. I’m thinking chocolate or peanut butter banana would be good options as well.
Deep-fried kugel – First, you have a contest to find the best kugel recipe with a focus on texture. This has to be the firm kind of kugel that doesn’t easily fall apart. And since it’s in the dessert category, I want apples and cinnamon and maybe even raisins in it. Then it’s easy – you cut into squares, bread, and deep fry it. If the consistency was just right, it could possibly go on a stick, but definitely not necessary. I would call it lokshen kugel but who am I kidding?
Borscht – You’re laughing and thinking I’m a little crazy now, right? I’m not talking the hot, beef borscht here. I’m talking classic cold beet borscht. I happen to be a huge fan of cold soups – you know, gazpacho, fruit soups, and of course, borscht. They’re refreshing, they’re healthy, and they don’t currently exist at the fair. They can be portable too which is always a bonus. Just don’t wear white – those beets will stain!
Chicken Soup Dumplings – I love Chinese soup dumplings. No reason you can’t make them a little more Jewy and serve them at the fair. A good soup dumpling is a one-bite treat, perfect for walking the fair.
Gefilte fish cakes – Why not make gefilte fish out of walleye – our state fish? And since geflite fish would be a hard sell here in Minnesota, if you batter it and deep-fry it, it could work well. Maybe mix the horseradish with the fish instead of having to apply it to the finished food. Maybe this could be on a stick. Or maybe it’s only available on Friday night.
So that’s nine ideas for my fantasy Jewish fair foods. I have a bunch of other ideas, but I was getting too hungry so I stopped at mine. What about you out there in Jewfolk land? Any ideas for Jewish fair foods?