There's plenty to eat for an omnivore at the Walworth County Fair

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Thursday, August 28, 2014

ELKHORN—Here's the difference between Andrea Anderson and me.

I have half a steer in my freezer.

During its life, it was 9-year-old Mark Arndt's 4-H project.

Now, it is delicious.

Andrea, a vegan, doesn't have any animal products in her fridge.

For me, eating at the Walworth County Fair is a matter of restraint. For Andrea, it's a matter of finding condiments she can graze on: onions, packets of salt or maybe some sauerkraut from the La Grange Methodists' hot dog spread.

Not that I would advocate stealing from the Methodists.

We went to the fair as omnivore (eats everything) and herbivore (eats only plants). Here's how our day went:

Round 1: Andrea spends 20 minutes asking people what's in their batter. I consider abnormally large turkey leg, Italian sausage, Polish sausage, Philly cheese steak, something called a “meatball bomber” and a variety of items from the House of Pork.

I pick a corn dog, strictly because it seems to represent the antithesis of vegetables. Hot dogs are made from a collection of leftover meat/almost-meat scraps. The cornmeal topping probably comes in 50-gallon drums.

The smell makes Andrea feel queasy. I eat about half of it and feel queasy.

Round 2: A lamb sandwich from Pinn-Oak Farms in Delavan. I like lamb, but this time it doesn't go down easily. I wonder if it's a bad idea to mix meats, as the lamb feels in conflict with the half a hot dog in my stomach.

Meanwhile, Andrea is happily eating sweet corn without butter from the Lions Club. I resent this but feel too sluggish to complain.

Round 3: Stop the press! Member of the alleged liberal media elite agrees with Republican Gov. Scott Walker. On Wednesday morning, I asked Walker to name his favorite fair food. His response? The cream puffs from the Sweet Adelines.

He's right. I formed a deep and lasting emotional attachment to the caramel-pecan puff I bought from their stand.

The puff part was lightly browned and served as a delicate shell for the lightly sweetened filling made with real cream.

A little drizzling of caramel and scattering of chopped pecans finished it off. 

Here was the cream puff created by God before the fall of humankind. Somehow, it was smuggled out of the garden, lost in Noah's flood only to mysteriously reappear in the hands of the Sweet Adelines.

There can be no other explanation for its existence.

I am no longer resentful of Andrea's sweet corn.

Aftermath: Despite the taste of divinity, my stomach feels gurglely and mildly miserable for the rest of the day. I'm pretty sure that the guys working at the Bible quiz booth would have had something to say about gluttony or man's fallen nature (Just as an aside, the quiz is full of trick questions, but you can sign up to win a free Kindle).

At swim practice that evening, the flip turns give me motion sickness. I develop a headache during the warm down and spend the rest of the evening craving green peppers and Melba toast.

Friday I'll be at the fair again. 

This time, I'll choose wisely. Perhaps the baked potato with broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash, zucchini, green and red peppers all stir-fried in olive oil with basil and garlic, followed by a cream puff.

Or two.

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