April Jeppson: Forget your diet — go buy the funnel cake

Published 10:21 pm Thursday, August 2, 2018

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

April Jeppson


Warm butter slowly trickling off the cob and down the side of my hand. There’s something about the sound that fresh summer sweet corn makes as your teeth sink into the kernels. Nostalgia, tradition, a mandatory submission to a craving you can only satisfy two months of the year.

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Born and raised in Minnesota means your belly knows the satisfaction that a hotdish can provide on a cold winter night. Bunkering up with a cup of hot chocolate and butter toast is an article for another day because today I’m talking about the foods of summer. So many of my favorites come out in full force during the summer months at picnics, fairs, sporting events. In a state known for its harsh winters, we sure know how to cook it up during those few months when the snow pants are put away.

Right now the Freeborn County Fair is hosting its self proclaimed “Six Best Days of Summer.” What makes these days so great? Concerts? 4-H booths? Rides? I’d argue it’s the food. Where else can you walk around and score cheese curds, funnel cake and onion rings with the most craveable dipping sauce. Nowhere. I’m not a huge fairgoer, but I have to go every year just to satisfy these cravings.

Can I get cheese curds in November? Sure — I mean, I feel like a Vikings game would have some. I could try and order them at a bar or restaurant, but they’re just not the same. The breading, the amount of salt, the stringiness of the cheese, and whatever mystery oil they fry it up in — it’s just better at the fair.

We are fortunate enough to have Bruno’s in town, otherwise the only time I would ever even have the opportunity to eat a corn dog would be at the fair — which is funny, cause I’m an adult. I grocery shop. I was once a kid who said, “When I grow up, I’m going to buy chocolate cereal and pour chocolate milk on top, and no one will stop me cause I’ll be in charge!” And yet here I am — not eating chocolate cereal with chocolate milk, and also not buying corn dogs for myself. But let’s be honest. Baking up a frozen corn dog is good — but it’s not the same as a fresh one off the truck. Yum.

You know what else is only good in the summer? A BLT. Oh. My. Goodness! There is some mystical thing that happens when the juice from the tomato mixes with the mayonnaise. It’s more than its individual parts. It’s synergy on two pieces of bread. Tomatoes in general are just other-worldly right now. A little salt and I will happily eat a tomato or two a day — if my garden was actually producing tomatoes this year. On a side note, anyone have tomatoes they need to give away?

Grilling deserves an article all to itself. Meat, veggies, fruit — it doesn’t discriminate. A solid Minnesotan will try and grill as many months as possible during the year, but even with the technology of modern grills, I’m not going to grill up a couple hot dogs in February. You might, but I’m not going to. So, to sit on the back deck with watermelon, potato salad and a nicely charred bratwurst, it just tastes like summer.

Since you brought it up, watermelon — yet, another food I have to eat as much as I can during the summer. I enjoy my watermelon with salt on it. If we’re being honest, it’d be more accurate to say that I enjoy putting a little watermelon on my salt. Cantaloupe, strawberries, actually most fruits and vegetables are at their peak right now and are just tastier. If your garden is being as ornery as mine is, make sure you hit up the farmers market. I always leave with a bag full of yummies that make me slightly less sad that my garden hates me.

Go to the fair if you haven’t already, or go back for a second helping. Buy the funnel cake. Enjoy all the greasy fried deliciousness. I don’t care if it’s not part of your diet. Grab an extra ear of corn and another slice of melon. Our summers aren’t that long, and there’s a lot of food that we need to eat during the next month, so get to it.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.