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14 Midwestern Foods That Confuse The Fuck Outta Everyone Else

Canned pineapple + marshmallows + whipped topping = a salad.

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On top of the confusing geography and unique catch phrases (he's SCHNOOKERED!), the Midwest's regional foods can seem a bit foreign.

Comedy Central

North Dakota juneberry pie, chicken paprikash hotdish, and puppy chow are just some of the dishes you'll come across.

To help you navigate the heartland, here are 14 of their weirdest (and most beloved) foods explained:

1. Ambrosia/Watergate "Salad"

Instagram: @freshaprilflours

What it is: A mixture of canned pineapple, canned cherries, and mini marshmallows bound together with whipped topping or marshmallow creme served as a "vegetable" or side dish.

What it's not: Something containing leafy greens, vegetables, or a dressing.

Learn how to make classic Watergate salad here.


2. Hotdish

Instagram: @foodcomakatie

What it is: A casserole made with a starch (usually tater tots), canned or frozen vegetables, ground meat, and canned soup (cream of chicken works best).

What it's not: A "casserole." (Get it right or get out of Minnesota ― don'tcha know the difference?)

Learn how to make it here.

4. Cincinnati Chili

Instagram: @sarahboriskyrd2be

What it is: Seasoned ground beef served over spaghetti with shredded cheese, diced onion, and oyster crackers.

What it's not: Bolognese or your standard bean chili served over corn bread.

Learn how to make it here.

5. Horseshoe Sandwich

Instagram: @_destroyevsky_

What it is: A piece of toasted bread topped with a beef patty, French fries, and cheese sauce.

What it's not: Despite the name, a sandwich (although ~technically~ it could be considered an open-faced one).

Learn how to make it here.


6. Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

Instagram: @50statesoffood

What it is: A hot dog topped with neon green relish (*important*), pickles, tomato, mustard, and onion.

What it's not: Topped with ketchup (DON'T YOU DARE) or fancy ingredients such as ~whole grain~ mustard or relish made with natural coloring.

Check out how to make a proper Chicago dog here.

7. Deep-Dish Pizza

Instagram: @paulette_voyage

What it is: A savory pie with a deep crust topped with sauce, sausage, cheese, and even more sauce.

What it's not: Pizza. (Let's be honest ― deep-dish pizza is its own food group).

Learn how to make it here.

8. St. Louis–Style Pizza

Instagram: @savwaszczuk

What it is: A cracker-thin crust topped with sauce and ~special~ slices of provel cheese (a processed white cheese that gives this pizza its unique texture).

What it's not: Once again, pizza. (We just can't compare the two!)

Learn how to make it here.


11. Deep-Fried Cheese Curds

Instagram: @c.and.i

What it is: Breaded and fried "squeaky" cheese curds served with dipping sauce.

What it's not: Cheese sticks (these guys don't melt, so don't expect that signature cheese pull you get from mozzarella sticks).

Learn how to make your own here.

12. Anything "on a Stick"

Instagram: @britnynoe

What it is: The most popular food at any Midwestern state fair ranging from Twinkies to butter (yep, deep-fried butter on a stick is a thing).

What it's not: Healthy ―but that's not really the point.

Check out even more Midwestern state fair food here.