Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa. Or more precise, it’s National Iowa Day. When you realize that nearly all of Iowa is farm country, you can see why some might think it’s heaven.
With the Mississippi River on its east and the Missouri on its west, Iowa is the only state bordered by two parallel rivers. What’s more, the Mississippi River provides Iowa with its lowest point in the state at 480 feet.
In 1869, Iowa made history after their Supreme Count ruled that women should be allowed to practice law. The ruling made it possible for Arbella Mansfield to become the first female attorney in the country. She went on to be a leader in the women’s suffrage movement and a dean at a university in nearby Indiana.
Most people know that nearly 90% of Iowa is farm country. Yet Iowa’s population is actually more urban than rural, with more than 60% of its population living the city life. When you take into consideration how much land is dedicated to farming, that would make for some very crowded cities.
That is not to say Iowa farms are not productive. There are more chickens living in Iowa than there are people living in California and Texas combined. To put it into perspective, Iowa chickens produce nearly 15 billion eggs a year. It means enough eggs to feed everyone in the world an egg for a day, or breakfast for every America for 47 days.
Chickens aren’t the only livestock in Iowa that outnumber people. The hog population is estimated to be seven times greater than the people population. That equates to more hogs in Iowa than people in the entire state of New York. It also might explain why there are so many cornfields in Iowa – gotta feed all those hogs something.
Speaking of hogs – are you a fan of Pork and Beans? Just wait till you see how we’re celebrating Iowa Day in our house. Oh my!
Pork (Chops) and Beans
2 (15 oz) cans Navy Beans, drained
1-1/2 cups Barbecue Sauce
2 tablespoons White Vinegar
2 tablespoons packed Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
4 boneless Pork Chops, about 1/2 inch thick
Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
Barbecue Seasoning to taste
Drain Navy Beans, set aside.
In medium bowl, mix barbecue sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and drained beans; set aside.
In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle salt, pepper and barbecue seasoning over pork; gently rub into the meat. Place chops the in skillet. Cook about 4 minutes per side, until both sides are nicely browned.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in bean mixture. Cook about 15 minutes or until pork is no longer pink in center.
Remove pork chops from skillet, arrange on a serving platter. Pour beans into a serving bowl, serve alongside chops. And don’t forget the cornbread muffins. This is Iowa after all.