Everybody eats: You can fill fair food cravings year-round

‘So, what are we going to do first?”

That was the conundrum my friend and I faced when we arrived at the Iowa State Fair last week. Free from our responsibilities — work, family, housework — we had the entire day and a list of possibilities several pages long.

Check out the Kevin Costner butter sculpture? Of course.

Pay $2 to milk a cow? Let’s do it twice!

Watch the 2014 Iowa Best Bagger Competition? Up until this very second, I had no idea that was something I always wanted to do.

In fact, the entire day was filled with things-we-never-knew-we-wanted moments, whether it was seeing how many pictures we could take in the photo cutouts scattered throughout the fairgrounds (we lost count once we got to the double digits) or trying to determine how much money it would take for us to be brave enough to ride The Slingshot.

The food, of course, was probably the top reason for our visit. Deep fried, extra sweet, this-is-not-healthy-but-I-don’t-care food. I knew I had to visit the chocolate chip cookie stand while Jackie wanted to try a Fair-berry Fair Square.

We visited the Iowa Craft Beer tent, sampling new flavors from state brewers, and then strolled down the main concourse, counting the variations of the fair staple: the corn dog.

I visited the Iowa State Fair twice last year, but because I was there to help judge multiple food contests in the Elwell Family Food Center, I wasn’t up to sampling all the other foods the fair had to offer. I made up for it this year, so much so that when I go back there Saturday to help judge recipes entered in the Szathmary Collection of Historic Recipes competition, I will be fine not having anything else to eat after my official duties are finished for the day.

Of course, it helps that there are tons of fair food copycat recipes to be found online that will satisfy fair food hankerings all year long. After all, you never know when you get a craving that only a Grilled Turkey Leg will fill.


•1 (2 liter) bottle lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage

•2 tablespoons sugar

•2 tablespoons hot sauce

•1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

•1 tablespoon black pepper

•1 large sweet onion, sliced

•4 turkey legs

•2 tablespoons honey

•1 tablespoon steak seasoning

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil grate.

In a large pot, mix the lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage, sugar, hot sauce, red pepper, pepper, and onion. Place the turkey legs in the mixture, and bring to a boil. Cook 30 to 45 minutes, until the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 180 degrees.

Remove onion slices from the mixture, and arrange on the prepared grill. Place turkey legs over the onions. Drizzle with honey, and season with steak seasoning. Cook, turning once, 20 minutes, or until a crisp browned crust has formed on the turkey legs.


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