comScore

State Fair sandwich 'The Swindler' renamed after anti-Semitism claims

The Swing Dance sandwich, available later this summer at the Minnesota State Fair, was known as the Swindler until this morning.

The Swing Dance sandwich, available later this summer at the Minnesota State Fair, was known as the Swindler until this morning.

This year's new Minnesota State Fair foods were greeted with excitement almost universally. 

In just one instance (so far), that excitement was negative. 

A booth debuting at this year's fair called the Hideaway Speakeasy has planned several sandwiches to sell at the Great Minnesota Get Together, all of them with stylized, Prohibition-era crime-themed names.There's the Boss Man, the Gangster, the Bugsy's Brie Plate, the Loan Shark Cuterie, and the Bootlegger. 

So far, so good. One name was instantly flagged by observers, though, for the perception its name is anti-Semitic. Or was: Within hours of the big announcement, the Swindler sandwich was no more, and (just like that!) the Swing-Dance sandwich was invented.

It was the ingredients that caught the eye of several people, including the TC Jewfolk online magazine. The Swindler was to consist of salmon, cream cheese, capers, and dill, served on a rye bread.

It's a classic combination, nearly ubiquitous on menus at Jewish delis. When combined with a German-Jewish word that means cheater/thief/schemer, the new item was enough to raise the specter of anti-Semitism. Proprietor Bryan Enloe pleaded ignorance, saying the name given to the sandwich was "a mistake" and "an oversight" for the nascent food stand.

Brienna Schuette, a marketer with the State Fair, says neither the Enloes (Bryan and his wife, Jennie) nor State Fair reps picked up on the food's connection to Jewish culture, or the offense the name might cause.

"Today," Enloe says, "I see [the sandwich] as Jewish. Before I saw it as an awesome sandwich. It’s a great combination. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone."

[Editor's note: It still is an awesome sandwich. It is a Jewish and awesome sandwich.]

A statement from the State Fair says organizers "deeply apologize" for the error.