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Can We All Agree That These 12 Midwestern Foods Are Actually Gross?

Dont'cha know these are gross?

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LISTEN UP Y'ALL: The Midwest is great. It has awesome cities, amazing people, and (for the most part) delicious food.


But let's be real, some of the more "traditional" Midwestern foods are actually pretty gross. I grew up in the Midwest and I STILL think they're disgusting.

Need some examples? Well, here are a few of the most offensive foods from my childhood:

1. The endless variety of "creative" cheese flavors that come out of Wisconsin.

Instagram: @rookalyssa

Everybody knows that Wisconsin cheese is GREAT — they just take it way too far! Chocolate cheese, pineapple cheese, and cinnamon cheese are just SOME of the horrifying flavors I have seen coming out of the badger state. I LOVE cheese, but this is just foul...


2. Jerky made from every damn animal and the strange subculture associated with it.

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It seems that everyone in the Midwest knows at least one person that makes their own jerky and trades it with other jerky connoisseurs — and you know what? IT'S WEIRD AND I DON'T WANT TO EAT YOUR SKETCHY DIY GARAGE JERKY.

3. Hot canned tuna in the form of tuna noodle casserole topped with crushed potato chips.

Instagram: @bakingwithbrooklyn

Canned tuna is not good, and it certainly doesn't taste any better when baked into a cheesy casserole of crushed potato chips and peas.

4. Those gray bratwursts that sit in a lukewarm pot of bath water at every outdoor party.

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Or worse, the ones that are grilled to a crisp THEN transferred to a hot water bath to keep warm. I wan't nothing to do with it!

5. Those butter burgers that give you a stomach ache every time you eat them.

As if regular burgers weren't indulgent enough, these are spread with a TON of butter to make them even more overwhelming. I ate a few growing up and always immediately regretted it.


6. Those creamy, bound mixtures that Midwesterners actually consider a salad (AKA ambrosia/watergate salads).

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Salad = greens + dressing, NOT a bound mixture of marshmallows and canned pineapple.

7. That gross, vomit-like concoction of processed cheese and cheap beer.

Beer cheese tastes like warm bile, and I'm not cool with that. I never understood this and made a conscious effort to avoid it at all costs growing up.

8. Those starchy casseroles that people call hot dish.

I have eaten a hot dish, I have made a hot dish, yet I still don't know WHAT a hot dish is. In my opinion, a hot dish is a starchy mixture of whatever food is too gross to eat by itself topped with cheese (and sometimes tater tots) baked into a bubbling mess.

9. That sickly sweet snack fittingly called puppy chow that's covered in way too much powdered sugar.

When the last step of a recipe tells you to add an entire bag of powdered sugar, you have to think twice about whether or not you should be doing this...


10. Goulash (or what I used to call cafeteria slop).

Instagram: @pcamparone

This stew of veggies and meat tossed with macaroni looks like slop because it IS slop. I can understand wanting something warm and hearty during the freezing Midwest winters, but I just never liked it. SORRY GUYS.

12. Gelatinous (and aggressively fragrant) lutefisk that many Midwesterners were forced to eat during the holidays.

If you're not familiar, lutefisk is a dried whitefish that has been soaked in lye and is a staple of many Midwest holiday dinners. It's gelatinous, smelly, and NOT for me.


Ambrosia salad is not made with mayonnaise and cod (or local freshwater fish) are the fish of choice for Friday fish fries. An earlier version of this post misstated these facts — apologies to the heartland and the outpouring of passionate Midwesterners who proved me wrong.