Amongst all the hype about the beautiful beaches of California, the breath-taking snow-capped mountains of Vermont and Colorado, the red rocks of Arizona, the sunshine of Florida and the wild city life of New York, the hardy Midwest seems to be forgotten.
As a girl who has spent her entire life in the Midwest, growing up in Michigan and attending college in Wisconsin, I have learned to appreciate the Midwest more and more as I realize how many underrated great qualities it has.
As I’ve talked with students from around the country and world at college, it appears that only Midwesterners appreciate the Midwest, so I’m here to tell you a list of reasons why the lovable Midwest deserves more recognition than it gets.
1. The famous "ope"
After a recent Twitter phenomenon, I realized that everyone in the Midwest collectively uses the fake word/noise “ope” in about every situation. Midwesterners, you know what I’m talking about. “Ope, can I squeeze past ya,” you might say when trying to slide by someone standing in front of you, or apologize bumping into someone by accident by saying “Ope, sorry!” or “Ope, didn’t see ya there!”
2. We put cheese on everything
We Midwesterners know that everything tastes better with a little more cheese. Wisconsin is especially famous for its delicious and unique cheese curds or fried cheese balls. That’s gotta be healthy, right?
3. Our unique foods
In the Midwest, we deep fry and put ranch on absolutely everything. We love our potatoes (potato salad, mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, fries). “Hot dishes” are common, or otherwise known as casseroles. Frozen custard is a big deal around here, especially from the famous Culver’s fast food restaurant.
4. Everyone is actually SO nice
I always thought the politeness in the Midwest was normal everywhere else until my friends from other states kept commenting on how “really nice everyone is here!” We actually talk and get to know our neighbors here, too.
5. Those good ol' Midwestern values
The Midwest prides itself on having those classic and wholesome “Midwestern values,” which include being nice to everyone, family dinners (often casseroles) and hard work.
6. Special hot dogs
We have some interesting food combos here, most notably our famous hot dogs. There’s the Coney Dog, a Detroit classic, which consists of a chili, mustard and white onions topped hotdog. Coney Dogs are typically associated with Greek-American restaurants. Another famous hot dog is the Chicago Dog, which has a beef hot dog in a poppy seed bun, topped with white onions, yellow mustard, sweet pickle relish, sliced tomatoes, pickled peppers and celery salt. Yum.
7. Yes, we wear shorts when it's 50 degrees outside
The Midwest experiences winter about half of the year, so when the temperature finally hits 50 degrees or above, you can expect us to bust out the shorts in excitement for good weather (finally!)
8. Kids fully appreciate a snow day
Speaking of the weather, it snows heavily over here all the time. We trek through sometimes feet of snow to get to work or school, so when a snow day is rarely called, the kids appreciate it. The youngsters will make snow angels, snow forts and just play in the snow all day. The older ones appreciate an opportunity to sleep in.
9. So. Many. Lakes.
We have a plethora of beautiful lakes, large and small, scattered across the Midwest. Michigan, the Great Lakes State, has some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world (in my opinion), and other states such as Minnesota have beautiful mini lakes everywhere. Tons of people own lake houses to get away for the weekend and appreciate the countryside.
10. Our accents and weird sayings
Everyone appreciates the nasally long “A”s of a Midwestern accent. We’ll say “Hey, Mahhm!” instead of “Mom” (I know you can hear the difference in your head), and often we say “pop” instead of “soda.” Minnesota uses the phrase “Duck duck gray duck” instead of “duck duck goose” (that one’s weird, I know), and Wisconsin says “bubbler” instead of “water fountain.” A lot of people call sneakers “tennis shoes,” or even the even shorter “tenna shoes.” And I’m sure everyone from the Midwest has said, “For crying out loud!”
I hope after reading these wonderful tidbits about the Midwest, everyone will realize that the Midwest isn’t merely just a bunch of “drive-through-states.”