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The State Fair gave a vegan cooking contest winner a very meaty prize

The contest was vegan. The gift one winner got... not so much.

The contest was vegan. The gift one winner got... not so much. Facebook: Vegan Minnesota

There are hundreds of ways to earn a ribbon in a Minnesota State Fair food competition. This year's "pickles" category alone boasted 15 different divisions, from "bread and butter, sweet" to "bean, can include dill."

When it comes to vegan-specific ways to win, though, there's pretty much only one: the "vegan main dish competition," which gave plant-based home cooks a chance to show off their finest veggie-heavy meals starting in 2011.

So a Minneapolis mom was thrilled when the recipe she spent weeks testing -- working through about six different versions before landing on one she felt proud to enter -- was among the plates that placed this summer. She didn't finish first, but hey, it was her first time competing, and she'd only been vegan for about a year. 

"She’s pretty excited to be a part of this contest, and she couldn’t believe that she even placed," says her daughter, Jess*. 

But the surprises didn't stop there! Because in addition to a ribbon, the entry earned her another prize. A coupon for a bag of Cooked Perfect frozen meatballs.

No, not the vegan kind.

The beef and pork kind. 

Jess posted a picture of the "prize" to a Facebook group called Vegan Minnesota late last week, where it's earned a lot of thinking-face Emojis from confused commenters. Sure, we're talking about the State Fair -- land of butter busts carved from 90-pound hunks of pure dairy -- but couldn't she have gotten... I dunno, one of those new First Kiss apples? This wasn't just a vegan-presenting meal with meat byproduct hidden somewhere way down the ingredient list, it was straight-up balls of meat. 

According to Jess, mom's "not one to stir the pot," presumably unless it's a literal pot. She asked if we'd let her stay anonymous (hence the asterisk up top, Jess is a pseudonym), because her mother's more baffled than upset. Competing in the cook-off was fun, and the meaty mix-up hasn't dampened her love of the fair.

She doesn't want drama -- there's already been more than enough beef in this situation for her liking -- and Jess tells us she still plans to compete again next year.

Who knows? By then, organizers might be able to track down coupons for a complimentary Amy's burrito instead.