Friday, August 9, 2013

The Cookstove at the Iowa State Fair

Nancy and I went to the Iowa State Fair yesterday in Des Moines.  We try to go every year, but we go for different reasons.  Nancy likes to go because she likes to be at the fairgrounds.  For her, being there conjures up memories of camping at fair for several days with her grandparents, roaming the fairgrounds, seeing the sights, and taking in the shows.  I go because I like to make sure that nothing has changed and because I like to "eat my way through the fair" as Mom always puts it.

The Iowa State Fair is known for its many deep fat fried delectibles.  I don't go for the deep fat fried Twinkies, Oreos, or Snickers.  I have even been known to happily pass by the funnel cakes.  This is all sort of strange because, I swear, a person could deep fat fry rocks and I would eat them! 

I did have a couple of corn dogs today, but for me the best treat at the fair by far and away is the apple sticks at the Applishus booths.  The "stick" part is just your common grocery store bakery apple strudel.  What makes them fantastic is the frosting.  Heavenly, melt-in-your mouth frosting covers these little things, and after years of wondering what made it so good, I've found a recipe that is so similar that I can't tell the difference.  I'll have to share it sometime.

(2014 Update: The frosting recipe can be found here.)

Anyway, as I said, the other reason that I like to go to the fair is to make sure that nothing has changed.  You all have probably figured out that I am a lover of tradition, and the Iowa State Fair is steeped in traditions.  However, it would be grossly inaccurate as well as unfair to say that nothing changes at the fair.  A part of the fair that remains fairly constant, though, is Pioneer Hall.  Basically, this is a building with a lot of antiques on display and for sale.  One of the cubicles is dedicated to antique kitchen furnishings, and it has the cookstove that you see below.  This cookstove is actually quite little as cookstoves go and has been a part of the displays at Pioneer Hall for as long as I can remember.

The cookstove at the Iowa State Fair.

Because I cannot get close to it, I have no idea what brand it is, but my best guess is that it is a Kalamazoo.  I just wish that they had it hooked up to a chimney and had cooking demonstrations on it like the blacksmith demonstrations on the other side of the building.  Maybe someday!


  1. That would be so fun to have a Cookstove competition at the Fair. Someone needs to talk to the Fair Committee about that!

  2. You should volunteer to head that up.

  3. Now that WOULD be fun. However, school starts so early in August anymore that I wouldn't be able to be at the fair but a couple of days. I also might have to convince the people in the dairy barn to board my Bonnie at the fair for awhile because getting somebody to milk her for a week and a half would be very expensive! Good idea, though.

  4. PLEASE DO share the recipe!!!! Cooking on a Pioneer Maid for 20 years with a family of 16...

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