Food For Thought: Wallace Centers Of Iowa


A few days ago I had dinner at the Wallace House in Des Moines’ Historic Sherman Hill neighborhood. The Wallace House is home to The Wallace Centers of Iowa, an organization that promotes sustainable agriculture and living through a variety of fun, educational programs. This house holds a lot of historic value as it was the home of Henry and Nancy Wallace, parents of Henry C. Wallace, former Secretary of Agriculture to President Harding. Henry C. is the father of Henry A. Wallace, former Secretary of Agriculture and Vice President to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I’m thankful that all the Henry’s have different middle initials, aren’t you?

The Wallace Centers of Iowa have a farm in Orient, Iowa, where Henry A. was born. This farm is currently the location of the Country Life Center and home of The Gathering Table, a farm to table restaurant where you can enjoy lunch or dinner from foods grown and harvested right on the farm. In the past year, The Wallace Centers thought of another great program to bring to Des Moines – Food For Thought. This is a weekly dinner at the Wallace House and incorporates all the abundance of foods from the farm in Orient. They have a fabulous chef, Katie Routh, who does a great job incorporating what is in season and makes everything beautiful and tasty.

This past Thursday’s theme was Functional Foods. On the table, there were three questions:
1. Do you eat a food on a regular basis because it might prevent some disease or condition?
2. Does your family physician talk to you about eating certain foods for a health condition you have?
3. Can you name super foods that have been identified to help humans fight diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and dementia?

As you can see below, each week is a different topic and many times they have a subject matter expert on hand to come around to the tables to talk to diners about the questions of the night. I’m kind of sad that I missed the nights featuring cheese, Iowa peaches, and heirloom tomatoes. TopicsSo I’m guessing you want to know what I had for dinner, right? Below is the menu from the Functional Foods night.MenuEverything looked great but I selected the cheese and relish plate to share with my husband, the polenta, and the sweet potato pecan waffle. My husband had the lamb meatballs. Here’s what our dinner looked like! AppLambPolenta WaffleThe lighting was kind of dim so the quality of my photos don’t do the food justice. Overall my favorite was the polenta. It was full of flavor, a little cheese, and the veggies were seasoned just right. Everything was delicious though.

Because we’re coming to the end of gardening season, there are only two more dinners on schedule, the holiday dinners on December 5 and 12. If you are interested in learning more about the Wallace Centers of Iowa, please visit their website! I highly recommend you try a dinner at the farm in Orient, which I plan to do this coming summer, or a dinner in Des Moines, at the Wallace House. If you can’t get in for a December meal, they are hoping the weekly Food for Thought dinners will resume in early spring! How’s that for something to look forward to?