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Some Call These Midwestern Foods Gross–Are They Right Or Not?

Middle age business woman feeling disgusted with tongue out
Getty Images

Over the weekend, I got an email note from a friend who formerly lived here in the Rockford area. In the email, he included a link to a piece about “classic” Midwestern food dishes he found on a website.

After pointing out that he himself had lived in the Midwest once upon a time (which he totally ignored), he said I should check out the article because “you people need to change up that (curse-word) you call food!

Well my friends, the “you people” he was talking about is us, so let’s take a look at some of the foods that Midwesterners eat that the rest of the country considers gross.

"Please don't make me eat casserole, Grandpa!" (Getty Images)
“Please don’t make me eat casserole, Grandpa!” (Getty Images)
"You'll eat that damned casserole and like it, Johnny!" (Getty Images)
“You’ll eat that damned casserole and like it, Johnny!” (Getty Images)

No Surprise, Casseroles Get A Smack-Down From Non-Midwesterners

The website piece I’m referring to is from, and was written back in 2018 by Jesse Szewczyk. “Can We All Agree That These 12 Midwestern Foods Are Actually Gross?” takes a look at the stuff Midwesterners (supposedly) eagerly stuff into our pie-holes every chance we get.

As if killing the tuna weren't bad enough, we then shove it in a casserole. (Getty Images)
As if killing the tuna weren’t bad enough, we then shove it in a casserole. (Getty Images)

In fairness, the author says that the Midwest is the home of comfort food, but some of the takes on Midwestern foods are not all that comforting. Like, for instance, casseroles–in particular, tuna casserole with crushed potato chips on top:

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.

woman making funny face, on white background
She doesn’t seem convinced. (Getty Images)

Yeah…about that…I’m going to have to agree. As a child of the 1960s, when you could literally be deported for not having 3-4 different casseroles in your dinner rotation, I was served a ton of casseroles by my Midwestern mom. Tuna casserole was in her hot rotation, and yes, it was gross.

But, if I didn’t want to sit at the table until I ate it, even if it meant all night, I choked it down.

Another happy customer! (Getty Images)
Another happy customer! (Getty Images)
Here's a fan favorite--Ambrosia salad. (Getty Images)
Here’s a fan favorite–Ambrosia salad. (Getty Images)

Then There’s Ambrosia Salad, Friday Fish Frys, And Puppy Chow

Okay, so I happen to agree with the grossness of tuna casserole, and I find myself nodding my head at the notion that the ambrosia salad pictured above is…well…pretty disgusting. But these things? I like both of them.

All you can eat! (Getty Images)
All you can eat! (Getty Images)
Puppy chow that's absolutely not for dogs. (Getty Images)
Puppy chow that’s absolutely not for dogs. (Getty Images)

I draw a hard line on a Friday night fish fry and puppy chow. I love both of those, although not at the same time. That would just be weird.

You can go over the list yourself by clicking here.
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