We all know that the Iowa State Fair famous for it’s butter sculptures. In addition to the ubiquitous Butter Cow there are always other examples of this quaint artistic medium each year. The theme for the 2014 fair is “Field of Dreams” which will feature elements of baseball and rural landscapes. The link below gives some additional history of Iowa’s butter art over the years.
While Iowa takes credit for starting the tradition of butter sculpting exhibitions at fairs in the United States, what you may not know, is that butter sculpting originated 100’s of years ago. In Tibet it is an ancient Buddhist tradition; yak butter and dye are still used to create temporary symbols for the Tibetan New Year and other religious celebrations. There is also reference to a banquet in 1536 with centerpieces constructed from butter.
So, if you find this curiously fascinating, you may also enjoy the 2011 movie Butter. A bit of a dark comedy about “the cutthroat world of competitive butter sculpting” it will lurk in the back of your mind as you tour the extravaganza of butter at the fair this year. Very entertaining with an excellent cast playing unexpected characters, it may make you want to play with food too.