The Wisconsin State Fair Has One Food-On-A-Stick Too Many

So here's the full list of truncheon-mounted foodstuffs at the Wisconsin State Fair, currently underway in, uh, well, Wisconsin, of course. Actually, no, here's not the full list, because the full list apparently has more entries on it than there are human beings to consume them. Wisconsonianitians sure do love their stick-snacks!

There's some fun stuff on here: pancake and sausage on a stick, which seems like it'd be salty-sweet and tasty; chocolate-covered bacon on a stick, which, again, yum; deep-fried cream cheese on a stick with bacon, which, [vomits internal organs onto floor, staggers in a circle, falls over onto pile of organs, dies]. The odd thing that happens is, as you read down the list, the more familiar rod-foods (cotton candy, corn dogs, ice cream pops) start to seem underwhelming: "Corn dog? 'Zat all? Is it, like, corn-dog-on-a-stick on a stick?"

Part of the fun of this sort of thing is the silliness of it; you don't go to the foods-on-sticks portion of a Midwestern state fair's menu looking for, like, haute cuisine or whatever, and that's a good thing. Still, one particular item, offered by a vendor named Saz's Ribs, deserves all the scorn and opprobrium otherwise misguidedly directed toward the state-fair-stunt-food genre: the bacon-wrapped cherrywood-smoked pork belly. The problem with this food-on-a-stick is not the stick. It is the bacon.

Listen. I like bacon. Bacon is good. Bacon can come on over to my house any time. The reason to wrap bacon around a foodstuff during cooking is so that the bacon can impart that distinctive salt-cured, bacon-y flavor to the foodstuff. But, we already have a word for pork belly that has had a distinctive salt-cured, bacon-y flavor imparted to it, and that word is: bacon. Presumably, the reason to have pork belly (which, remember, is bacon that hasn't been salt-cured) is that you want pork belly—and not, say, bacon. If you want bacon-y pork belly, just eat some bacon.

The wrongness of wrapping bacon around pork belly—tasty though it may look, up there at the top—isn't a matter of culinary propriety, but of logic. Which is to say, it's dumber than hell. Wrapping bacon around pork belly is like coating raw, sushi-grade tuna cheek with Chicken of the Sea canned tuna.

Don't wrap bacon around pork belly. A good rule to live by. Put that on a stick, Midwesterners!


[wistatefair.com]

h/t Michael