For anyone who thinks the food at the Big E is typical fair food – you're oh so wrong. Sure, there are the staples – fried dough, sausage and peppers and corn dogs, but there are things you'll find only at the Big E.
Being a news guy and lover of all things fried I love to investigate at the Big E! When attending, you need plenty of time to soak it all in, but when the hunger pains come calling, walk slow and check the menus on the many food booths that line the streets. You'll see the popular items, but look close and you'll find some most creative dishes anywhere.
After exhaustive research (I worked very hard on this assignment on behalf our loyal CBS 3 Springfield viewers), I found a few things that everyone should sample. The Big E folks pride themselves of thinking outside the proverbial fryolator to come up with some great contests. This year it's the Big E Corn Challenge. The Big E challenged several food vendors to create concoctions using corn as a main ingredient in their recipe and Big E visitors are asked to sample them then vote for their favorite at CBS3Springfield.com.
I thought this was a pretty cool contest so I decided to check out each one (again… all on behalf of our viewers of course). The four entries into the Corn Challenge are:
Red's Tutti Frutti Popcorn – at Red's Red Apples on Comm. Ave. near Central Info. Multicolored popcorn.
Corn Poppers – Osborne Mushroom by the Stroh Building. Farm fresh kernels of corn, dipped in special batter, deep fried and topped with powdered sugar or maple syrup.
Country Fried Shepard's Pie – EB's located in the Food Court. Meatball size balls containing meat, cream style corn and mashed potatoes, rolled in panko crumbs, deep fried and served drizzled with gravy.
Corn Cake Pulled Pork Muffin - Cinnamon City located behind the Stroh building, Scirrotto's Corn Cake Muffin stuffed with slow-braised pulled pork and topped with pulled pork & coleslaw.
I'm not much of a wine guy (there's wine tastings as well at the Big E!), but I treated my sampling much like a wine connoisseur would sip the aged beverages of the great Napa Valley. First, I took in the color and presentation, then the aroma, and finally the taste. Helpful hint – try to arouse your senses when sampling - away from the horse barn.
Each dish was spectacular. They were so I good I took one for the team and devoured each of the dishes to ensure I was getting the full bouquet.
It was a difficult and dangerous assignment, especially for my arteries, but I did it for our viewers. When you visit the Big E, try each and every dish and cast your vote at CBS3springfield.com.