This time of year, many of us would love to go to the "Great Minnesota Get Together," but for sad reasons like "I live 1000 miles away" or "I've been hit hard by the Pelosi/Reid/Obama recession," not all of us can make it. So here's a way to have a big portion of the State Fair experience on a budget.
Go shopping, and get 1-2 lbs of hot dogs (we did Ambassador), cornbread mix, a bottle of oil, flour, eggs, milk, wooden sticks, flour, and powdered sugar. Mushrooms are a double bonus, or you could even do hard boiled ("Scotch") eggs.
Make 1 batch of cornbread mix very thick. Test thickness with hot dog (it should coat it well), and then pour about 1 quart of oil into large dutch oven. Heat until a slight haze forms over the oil. Stick sticks into hot dogs (1-2 per adult), coat with cornbread batter, and place into dutch oven to fry. Turn to get even coating.
While the corn dogs are cooking, put sticks into mushrooms or hard boiled eggs and dip them in cornbread batter. Place them into dutch oven for cooking when corn dogs are done. Drain corn dogs on paper towels and serve. Do the same with mushrooms or eggs. Serve with lemonade or other desired beverage; bonus if the lemonade is made with real lemon juice, of course. Turn off stove while eating!
After the first sumptuous repast, reheat oil, and add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of flour to remainder of cornbread batter, add 1 egg, 1 tsp baking powder, and milk to make a slightly "runny" pancake like batter. Pour through funnel to make your own funnel cakes at home. Top with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar and enjoy.
There you go. The essential Minnesota State Fair experience without the crowds, and for $20 or less for a family of seven.
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