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Blue Ribbon USA: Prizewinning Recipes from State and County Fairs Hardcover – May 10, 2007

2.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The most interesting part of this slender volume is not the collection of odd prizewinning recipes (Five-Minute Crock-Pot Burritos, anyone?), but rather the illustrations, anecdotes and ephemera that come out of the 150-year history of the state fair. Tales of prize-winning livestock and oversized vegetables abound; the authors deem fairs "a rare opportunity...to be recognized for an astounding array of superlatives: the perfect pie...the sweetest fudge, the farthest-spit watermelon seed." The superlative recipes selected for this volume, one from each state, prove hit-or-miss. Take Korean Oven-Roasted Turkey SPAM Stir-Fry, winner of the New Mexico State Fair's "Best SPAM Recipe competition"; it's an intrepid mix of soy sauce, cornstarch, snow peas and canned meat that ends up tasting like Chinese take-out-not necessarily a bad thing in the wake of Oregon's Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Salad. More appealing is Marjorie Johnson's Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake, winner at the Minnesota State Fair (perhaps because it contains two sticks of butter and three kinds of sugar). Don's Peach Pie, out of Ohio, is another winning dessert perfect for summertime. Surprisingly, Maine's Common Ground County Fair produced a simple recipe for New York-Style Half-Sour Pickles that gives its Empire State forbearers a run for their money. More curiosity than cookbook, this whimsical volume is sure to please fairgoers, even if they never set foot in a kitchen.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

John Margolies is a writer and photographer focusing on American commercial design.

Georgia Orcutt is a food writer and editor. She collaborated on Cooking USA and Cookout USA with John Margolies. She lives in Massachusetts.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (May 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811854841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811854849
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.8 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,871,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There are a number of incredibly wonderful blue ribbon recipe cookbooks available by such authors as Catherine Hanley, Margie Jensen, and Maria Polushkin Robbins -- which include the contributors' comments about what makes their recipes so special, and which were carefully tested by the authors, who added their own observations. Recipes from those books are unfailingly delicious; I have never been anything but thrilled with the results, and guests always beg for the recipes.

In contrast, this book doesn't include any comments from either contributors or author, who did not even bother to test the recipes. Many (if not most) are from small, unknown fairs (i.e., not blue ribbon winners from the state fairs!),or from the kiddie division of the state fair - with no clue as to how many candidates there were, or whether they scored most of their points for flavor or appearance (and I, for one, don't care about perfect appearance, so am solely interested in taste). Many are for meat; almost all seem yucky. There is also only one recipe per state -- unlike the other books mentioned, which provide a large selection of treasured, well-tested recipes.

In short, this book was a humungous disappointment. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY! IF YOU WANT A WONDERFUL COLLECTION OF BLUE RIBBON WINNERS, DO AN AMAZON SEARCH, AND PICK A BOOK WITH TRIED-AND-TRUE FAVORITES.
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Format: Hardcover
Unlike the previous reviewer, I've actually tried some of the recipes, and they were interesting, fun, and imaginative... maybe not things to make every day, but that's not the point. They're representative of what people make to win a blue ribbon at a fair, and the range of ideas is as varied as, well, the population that visits state fairs. With one recipe per state, it's not meant to be a comprehensive "winning recipes" cookbook - there are plenty of those out there already. The jist of this little book really is more about the colorful posters replicated on the pages facing the recipes, the quirky stories, and the marvellous variety you can find across this land. Have a sense of humor and enjoy this charming little find for its whimsy.
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Format: Hardcover
Being a blue ribbon winner myself, my sister bought this book for me. I tried several of the recipes. Some were so-so and some were downright nasty. I find it hard to believe that any of these recipes won any ribbons.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having loved the other "USA" cookbooks in my collection, I was disappointed with the contents. Not many of the recipes were actually enticing enough to try. A disappointment.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not what I expected. I was looking for recipes and the book mainly listed items that were a hit at most state fairs.
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