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"Food & Wine," the website and magazine focused on all things culinary, released a guide to every state's best fast food on Tuesday and picked a storied icon for its Iowa choice.

Large lists by national publishers picking the best that each state has to offer can sometimes seem like a fool's errand. "Food & Wine," however, is published by Iowa's own Meredith Corporation, so it makes sense that they went with the classic loose meat sandwich from Maid-Rite.

The entry reads:

"To the outsider, the loose meat sandwich appears as an unfinished symphony, or perhaps just unfinished, it is the burger that got lost on its way to being a burger, a sloppy Joe without the slop, a mystery that mostly ends up in your lap, if you do not eat it correctly. To Iowans, it’s home, and this kinda-had-to-grow-up-with-it half-creation goes by many names, depending on where in the state you hail from — the Canteen in Ottumwa, the tavern sandwich in Sioux City, the Maid-Rite in many more communities. The latter appears to come down to the ubiquity of the state’s homegrown fast food chain, now approaching a century of survival, a place best known for piles of crumbled ground beef cooked with onion, salt and pepper, scooped up and placed on a hamburger bun. It’s deconstructed food from before deconstruction was cool, and if you’re smart, you’ll get it with cheese. Make ours with that other Iowa specialty, creamy blue.

Setting aside the fact that the writer of the entry is threatening to put blue cheese on a loose meat sandwich, the choice is a strong one for Iowa. Certainly, there are other options from Iowa that could have been selected. There's an argument for Tasty Tacos, B-Bop's, and even Casey's General Store as the most ubiquitous fast food option.

Whether you're a fan of the dry loose meat sandwich or not, the food runs deep in Iowa culture. The first Maid-Rite opened in Muscatine in 1926 and its popularity pushed them to add more shops throughout the state over the years.

Maid-Rite is also seen by many an important part of many Iowa communities, as shown when workers at the Marshalltown restaurant started handing out sandwiches in the immediate wake of a devastating tornado.

But the selection won't be popular with some. In 2017, a writer at "Thrillist" included the Maid-Rite in a list of the "grossest, weirdest food" in each state.

But whether or not you agree with "Food & Wine" that Maid-Rite's loose meat sandwich is the best fast food in Iowa, it is a historically and culturally mindful choice.

Aaron Calvin covers trending news for the Register. Reach him at acalvin@registermedia.com, 515-556-9097 or on Twitter at @aaronpcalvin.

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