A scoop from the state fair


The Ohio State Fair began last week, and if you’ve already been then you already know about the sweet food item that everyone is talking about.

(Actually, we haven’t been there yet this year, so we have no idea if anybody’s actually talking about it or not. But for the sake of argument, let’s just assume everybody is).

The food item we are discussing, it goes without saying, is Maple Bacon Ice Cream, created solely for the fair by the 99-year-old, family-run Velvet Ice Cream of Utica, Ohio.

This should be no surprise. People have been putting bacon where it does not belong for years, and ice cream is one of the favorite place they have been putting it. The concept makes sense: The salty, smoky, crispy bacon would provide the perfect foil to the creamy, smooth, and soft ice cream.

For the fair, the good folks at Velvet have taken that idea one step further by adding a taste that goes well with both ice cream and bacon — maple syrup. In this case, they are using maple ice cream studded with chunks of maple-coated bacon.

If you prefer, you can also get chocolate and vanilla ice cream at the fair. All three flavors are available in the Dairy Products Building. That’s the building that annually houses the life-sized sculpture of a cow and its calf, made entirely out of butter, and another display that is only revealed once the fair is underway. Now that it has begun, we can tell you the theme of this year’s other sculpture. It shows the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir, complete with its founder Glenville Thomas and a pianist, all made out of butter.

We’ve seen pictures, and it is certainly impressive, in its way.

The fair is located at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, and it runs through Aug. 4.

Kumai cooks

Candice Kumai is a cookbook writer, an author, a fitness model (her Web site includes bikini shots), and a judge on “Iron Chef America.” And next month, she will add one more credit to her resumé: Guest cook at The Culinary Vegetable Institute in Milan, Ohio.

Ms. Kumai is best known for her No. 1 bestselling cookbook Cook Yourself Thin, as well as the also-successful The Skinny Bitch Cookbook and Recipe Rehab Cookbook. 

The event will be an Earth-to-table dinner, with Ms. Kumai cooking foods that are healthy because, as her Web site quotes her saying with less than perfect grammar, “fresh, healthy, and sexy never goes out of style.”

The dinner will be Aug. 17, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are required and are presumably going quickly. The cost for dinner is $75, plus tax, tip, and alcoholic beverages if you choose to have them.


Careful readers of Tuesday’s Food section may have noticed something amiss. In my eagerness to share with readers a recipe for a very good and flaky pie crust, I made a tiny error that would, frankly, make a huge difference.

I meant to say that the recipe, which makes two crusts, should contain one teaspoon of salt. But my fingers, which do not always follow what my brain wants them to do, insisted on typing “1 tablespoon.”

Obviously, if you put a full tablespoon of salt into two pie crusts, you are going to wind up with pies that are too salty to eat. So to avoid all confusion, here is the way this excellent recipe should run.

I should point out, incidentally, that this dough initially feels somewhat stickier than you are probably used to. Don’t worry about it. It firms up nicely when you refrigerate it before rolling it out.

Classic Pie Dough

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon fine salt

2 sticks (1 cup) cold, unsalted butter

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together. In a measuring cup, stir ¾ cup water with several ice cubes until it is very cold.

Cut the cold butter into cubes and toss them in the flour mixture to coat. Put the mixture in the bowl of a food processor and pulse in short bursts until the butter pieces are the size of hazelnuts.

Pulsing in 4-second bursts, slowly drizzle the ice water into the food processor through the feed tube.

As soon as the dough comes together in a ball, stop adding water. Remove the dough from the food processor and divide it in half. Flatten each piece into a disk and wrap each disk first in parchment paper and then in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough until firm, about 1 hour. (The dough can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator before proceeding with your recipe).

Yield: 2 single-crust 9-inch pie crusts

Source: Baked Explorations, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

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