It's the rare visitor who leaves the State Fair of Texas wishing there had been more deep-fried delicacies available, but there are a few fried and stick-impaled snacks missing from the fair's line-up. Here, a look at five popular sweet and savory items sold at state fairs elsewhere:
1. Camel on a Stick, Minnesota State Fair
Concessionaires have a habit of bestowing exotic animal names on unexciting food - a frozen banana's known as a "monkey on a stick," and hand-held cheesecake's called a "turtle on a stick" - but Somali-born vendor Jamal Hashi isn't kidding about the camel. His take on Australian camel, which he's described as "very, very lean," was such a hit at this year's fair that Hashi's decided to add camel burgers to his Minneapolis restaurant's menu.
2. Corn dog pizza, Minnesota State Fair
Apparently wanting to save fairgoers the trouble of having to choose between pizza and corn dogs, a Minnesota State Fair vendor who's long sold both food items separately this year conscripted the corn dogs for pizza topping duty. Although Minnesotans - who typically prefer food served on sticks - initially expressed skepticism about the dish, it was the talk of the fairgrounds.
3. Deep-fried cream cheese with bacon, Wisconsin State Fair
As hostesses with a knack for entertaining know, everybody likes cream cheese and bacon (followers of certain religious dietary restrictions excepted, of course.) In Wisconsin, where dairy's an art, a vendor this year had the bright idea to combine the two and fry away. For vegetarians, there's a bacon-free version.
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4. Deep-fried pumpkin pie, North Carolina State Fair
Most State fairs are held in the fall, but fairgoers wouldn't know it from the timeless concessions: There is no obvious season for, say, deep-fried beer. But North Carolina's new deep-fried pumpkin pie is a proudly autumnal treat.
5. Dutch letters on a stick, Iowa State Fair
Good luck finding even stickless Dutch letters outside of Iowa, where the northern-European style Yuletide pastry's so cherished that the state's Art Council has devoted a web page to it. The council describes Dutch letters - all of which are s-shaped, despite the inclusive name - as "crispy, flaky, butter pastries filled with almond paste, covered with large, crunchy sugar crystals and baked until golden."