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.
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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.