Food Network’s Dish That Defines Iowa is All Sorts of Wrong
Okay... we need to have a discussion with non-Midwesterners. Or, maybe some Midwesterners, too. Certainly the city slickers. What are those tall, skinny green stalks growin' away in all those fields along the road?
You said "corn", right? Mhm. Yep, it's corn. But what kind of corn? How many folks think it's the same as the kind you slather in butter and pop your hold holders on, then eat? Many? Most?
What you see in those fields is 99% field corn. While it is edible, and many animals eat it, it is NOT what you're getting at those pop-up corn stands, or at the grocery store. No, that is called sweet corn.
Now, many Iowa farmers do grow some sweet corn in Iowa, but Iowa is nowhere near the biggest state for sweet corn production. Surprisingly, that is Florida according to AG MRC, an ag research company.
Enter, Food Network and their new special The United Plates of America. I do love the name, and honestly, I also love Food Network. But I do have to take them to task because The United Plates of America showcases all 50 U.S. states' must-try foods. Given how this article started, you can likely guess what they picked for Iowa.
Yes, they picked sweet corn. But what's worse, in their write-up, they completely fumble our actual biggest crop as they say,
If drive more than a few blocks in Iowa, you’ll likely see a few sprouting ears of corn growing. In fact, the saying is, "knee-high by the fourth of July."
That's NOT sweet corn. That's field corn. Sweet corn does not get as tall as field corn. Also, it is not the type of corn referenced in the whole "knee-high" BS that some people think is the gospel in the Midwest.
I'm all worked up now.
I do love the Foot Network and this list has some pretty neat food picks. Although an ice cream dish for Nebraska is a weird pick. But for Iowa, they missed the mark. You can see, with photos, all 50 states' most iconic foods here.
So what should our "must try" dish be? The dish that defines Iowa is what? For my money, a good old Iowa Maid Rite. The dish that spawned those Iowa-based eateries.
Oh hey, while we're at it, Iowa doesn't grow the most popcorn either. That would be Nebraska. Iowa grows about 2.4% of all popcorn.