Monday, January 14, 2008

Farm Show '08

Need a break from the dull post-holiday grind? Declare a personal food holiday, and stuff your face for an entire day, or even weekend.

The Pennsylvania State Farm Show was a great excuse for Davy, Evan, a couple of friends and me to eat excessively. Not only is there a giant food court with a plethora of delicious options and that beloved lingering smell of animals in the complex, most of the edible items are priced under $5.

After showing the first-timers around the perimeter of the food court, we decided to begin devouring all of the goodies in a methodical, clockwise direction. That meant two steaming and buttered baked potatoes and six fresh potato donuts (half plain, half powdered sugar). The baked potato is a Farm Show staple, but I'd never had the potato donuts. They're dense and fantastic, and I won't make the mistake of skipping them again.

Round two included four decadent squares of fried mozzarella and an order of fried mushrooms. I always burn my mouth when I bite into a mushroom, but the herbed breading is so crispy that it's difficult to resist eating when it's in front of you.

One of the major highlights for me is the apple dumplings with homemade vanilla ice cream. I decided that this is my favorite thing to eat at the Farm Show, and it doesn't even involve chocolate or a fryer. The pastry in the dumplings is a magical substance that is neither too sweet nor buttery, and it forms the perfect flaky shell without being too heavy. Inside the dough is a soft mound of fruit with the perfect amount of cinnamon and sugar. Both the apple and the ice cream transcend anything I've ever tasted or

It's hard to imagine eating anything alongside the apple dumpling, but we managed to consume two sandwiches: roast beef and pulled pork. Both were tasty, but by that time we were full and needed an active break. We made our way through several exhibits to see the butter sculpture, which wasn't as impressive as years past, although it provided enough of a walk to digest and go back to the food court.

Milkshakes are a requirement at this event. Similar to the apple dumpling, the quality of these milkshakes goes way beyond anything you can get in every day life. Some people say that the chocolate by itself is too rich, and may go for the black and white option, which is chocolate on top of vanilla. To me, the Farm Show's chocolate milkshakes are the only milkshakes I'm really interested in. They are divinely thick and have an intense chocolate flavor that doesn't seem possible given the relatively light color they have.

To accompany our milkshakes, we also purchased vanilla soft ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, chicken nuggets, and a chicken sandwich. Evan wasn't convinced that chicken is a Farm Show food, and not worth wasting stomach space on, but I think he was proven wrong. Everything just tastes better there. Hopefully I didn't leave out anything we sampled; there was a definite food coma immediately following the outing. But all of the food, whether classic or newfound favorites, was well worth the resulting stomach discomfort.

If you're excited about next year's show or want to learn more, click here.

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