Travel

Loving All Things Corn in Iowa

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My fabulous time in Iowa was sponsored by Iowa Corn as part of #IACornQuest. As always, my opinions are my own.

What do John Wayne, George H. Gallup, Frederick Maytag, Glenn Miller and I have in common? We’ve all been to Iowa. Well, those people are from Iowa; I just went to Iowa.

ia-corn-quest

Iowa is America’s largest corn producer.

You see, I am a corn devotee. I live for late summer when sweet corn is in season and I eat it with just about every meal. 

When Iowa Corn invited me to join them for their annual #IACornQuest, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Three days talking about one of my favorite foods? I’m in. 

The fact that I got to travel to a place in America I had never been…well that was just butter on the cob. 😉

davenport-iowa

I knew our home base of the Quad Cities was going to be great from the very first night. 

cody-road

At the Mississippi River Distilling Company where we sampled local fare—including some of the libations made right on site—I had my first a-ha moment when I learned the vodka and whiskey there is made from corn!

That wasn’t my only discovery.

corn-field-harvest

A typical grocery store contains 4,000 items that list corn ingredients on the label! But talk over the three days went far beyond using corn as a food staple.

corn-production

Our hosts and reps from the American Lung Association were passionate about the environmental and economic benefits of using corn to produce ethanol. Ethanol is the renewable alcohol fuel made from plant material—like corn—that many believe can reduce oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions.

That same passion was apparent when we toured a grain processing facility to hear about how corn is processed into ingredients and materials for basically everything from cookies to condoms :-). 

century-farm

No visit to Iowa could exclude a visit to the farm. We met some wonderful, gracious families who have been farming corn for generations and learned about corn and crop farming. 

iowa-barn-at-sunset

We even had the opportunity to experience harvest from the driver’s seat of a combine or a tractor!

john-deer-at-sunsetfarm-at-sunset

Like true farmers, we ended the day at sunset—but with an authentic farm tailgate dinner. Delectable.

iowa-sunsets

One of my favorite moments of the trip was the cooking class hosted at Whisk Away. We prepared delicious, corn-based dishes and then ate them for lunch. 

whisk-away

The menu included smoked sausage and red pepper jelly on baked grits, chicken posole verde, apple pie tamales and scalloped corn.

apple-pie-tamales

Things must always come back to good food…

main-scalloped-corn

…so I’m thrilled I was given permission to share this Iowa Scalloped Corn recipe with you! It comes out of the oven like a soufflé and settles into an excellent, rich side dish.

Uncommonly good!

Scalloped Corn
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Ingredients
  1. 3 eggs, well-beaten
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 3 cups milk, room temperature
  4. 2 cups canned corn, drained
  5. 1/2 cup flour
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 4 tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients except corn and butter.
  3. Once well mixed, fold in corn.
  4. Pour into a greased 2-quart casserole.
  5. Cut butter into 1/4 teaspoon chunks and drop into mixture.
  6. Bake, uncovered, for 80-90 minutes once center has set.
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Stephanie Keeping

Stephanie is in love with a boy named Sam. He has taught her that it's okay to jump first and look later, to wear a dirty shirt to the park and to decide that today is a good day to take a nap in your rubber boots. She hangs out here blogging at Spaceships and Laser Beams and at our printable party shop on Etsy.