Celebrating Iowa foods


Whenever I go to the visit my family out of state, I have a standing order to bring chip dip from a specific Iowa dairy with me. They can’t buy it where they live, so it is always a treat, as long as I remember to pack it with me. I’ve heard of the same thing going on with other Iowa foods that can’t be purchased anywhere else. So when they miss that food, they make a point of buying it when they’re back in Iowa so they can take it back with them.

I recently heard about a Web site titled Only in Your State. And, yes, there’s one for every state. For Iowa there was–surprise–a section about Iowa food. It included a listing of Iowa’s top 11 foods. Perhaps some of these foods are the ones native Iowans can’t live without.

I’m not so sure who figured all this out, or if they have ever even set foot in Iowa, but it is an interesting compilation.

• Maid rites. This loose meat sandwich was created in Iowa and was termed “simple but magic.”

• Pork tenderloins. No list of Iowa foods would be complete without a tenderloin, deep-fried and big as a plate. Besides, we are the leading pork-producing state.

• Lefse. This one is thanks to the large population of Norwegians among us.

• Twin Bings. I was surprised that this candy was included, although the Twin Bing was first made in Sioux City.

• Taco pizza. I wouldn’t include this on a listing of our top foods, but then I didn’t realize that Happy Joe’s Pizza originated this pizza. Now taco pizza is made all over the country.

• Rhubarb pie. I think this tart fruit is a treat baked in just about any form. Its red color is pretty in a pie or a cobbler. I often serve it when I have guests from out of state, especially Southerners, because it doesn’t grow there. They don’t even know what they’re missing.

• Sweet corn. This is like pork tenderloins, because you really can’t compile such a list as this without including this wonderful, delectable vegetable. Sweet corn grown somewhere else just doesn’t compare.

• Scotcharoos. You really have to love these sweet, chewy Rice Krispie treats embellished with peanut butter and chocolate. The Web site indicated that scotcharoos are made in other places, but this is an Iowa name for them.

• Iowa chops. Like pork tenderloins, these thick, delicious pork chops belong on our list. This is another food I have been known to serve to out-of-state guests.

• Steak de Burgo. I guess that beef has to have a representative among these foods. I learned that it is a specialty from the Des Moines area.

• Dutch letters. These represent another nationality in our state and are made in our state’s Dutch community, Pella.

So there you have it. What would be on your list of best Iowa foods?