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Advertisement State Fair: a tribute to calories and fat in all its forms
by Dan Brawner Columnist · August 3rd, 2017


The Iowa State Fair is just a couple of weeks away, which will be a relief to Iowans desperately seeking new ways to instantly raise their cholesterol. The fair has earned a reputation for extravagantly caloric snacks like deep fat fried Twinkies on a stick and fried Snickers bars.

This year, the fair fare does offer some almost sensible entrees like Sweet Potato Totchos, which are tater tots made with sweet potatoes, smothered in marshmallow and caramel sauce. (Well, it's one way to get your vegetables.) And there is Mig's Hickory Smoked Chicken BLT Wrap, featuring diced chicken in creamy bacon dressing with celery, lettuce, tomatoes and, okay, more bacon.

But, let's be honest. Nobody expects to lose weight at the Iowa State Fair - except for those folks who ride the Tilt-A-Whirl right after lunch. For the gastronomic thrill seeker, the fair has something for everybody. The Pork-Almighty is an irreverent burnt offering of shredded pork choked with queso cheese sauce, sauteed onions, BBQ sauce and greasy beer-battered fries. Guaranteed to make any vegan-on-vacation lose their mind with joy.

Then there's the Chocolate Lava Cake. It's topped with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge. The name says it all.

The Bauder Mud is clearly the brainchild of a cardiologist-gone-mad. It has cream cheese chunks constricted in an adhesive concoction of whipped cream and chocolate syrup. The delivery system requires both a spoon and a straw. A large animal veterinarian syringe is available for injecting this directly into the arteries of those who can't take the suspense of waiting for their heart attack.

Also available is the Bruschetta Sundae Mt. Vesuvius. This sounds worse than it is. The Mt. Vesuvius actually looks delicious, with Ciabatta bread, cream cheese, grapes, pine nuts, fresh pesto and heirloom tomato. It even comes with a little Italian flag.

New for this year is RAH! Edible Cook E Dough. I'm sure this is good, but I am a little suspicious of any food that has to advertise that it is safe for human consumption. Like chocolate-covered poison ivy. Try it - it won't hurt you. I dare you.

Looking over the high-calorie Iowa State Fair food, I don't know why they don't just pass out spoons and let customers dig in to the Butter Cow sculpture. And why has the fair religiously recreated the cow sculpture every year since 1911? It's like Iowa's version of that Bible story about the Golden Calf.

In 2005, the Butter Cow appeared alongside a butter sculpture of the golfer Tiger Woods. In 1999, there was a butter sculpture of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper," and last year there were butter sculptures of Harry Potter and Elvis Presley. They had originally wanted to make Mr. Presley out of beef tallow, but the Elvis people didn't like the idea of the chubby rock icon memorialized in lard.

This year, the Butter Cow will be accompanied by a butter sculpture of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of "Little House on the Prairie," who lived briefly in Burr Oak, Iowa. It's like the highest honor Iowa can bestow - to be depicted in 600 pounds of butter fat, escorted into the Afterlife by a cow, the symbol and source of glorious calories.
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