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Spartan Scoop


My original title “lacked tact”
Matt Allen
A “Midwestern” taco ready to be assembled

“Midwestern” favorites are foods native to Midwestern homes. The reason they are favorites is because they are made a lot. Let’s start with a classic.

Tatertot Casserole (or hot dish if you’re Midwestern): This consists of a mixture of ground beef, green beans, cheese, and cream of mushroom soup topped with tater tots.

Casseroles are probably the most iconic “Midwestern” food. To the point there is a type of dish referred to as a casserole dish. Casseroles do have a couple of necessary ingredients, ironically since they’re quite the hodge podge of foods. The main requirements are a sauce and some cheese. And if you’ve eaten them, they’re usually very, very heavy on the cheese.

“Tacos”: Ground beef cooked in a pan with convenience store taco seasoning added in (don’t forget the water). Grated cheddar cheese with shredded iceberg lettuce and plenty of sourcream heaped on top. Ketchup optional. Just remember it has to be the big thing of taco seasoning that’s always in the convenience store aisle, that for some reason has both Italian and Mexican food there. In case you’re wondering about the sour cream it’s because “Midwestern” people can’t handle spicy food, and the sour cream overwhelms the spice of the seasoning.

These “Midwestern” favorites aren’t limited to unique creations, but even twists on other foods. Now you might wonder what other foods can be twisted like this? Mac and cheese is a perfect example.

Mac and cheese: has a large range of variety in what one can make. If you want to feel like you live in a trailer court use Kraft. Anything but generic brand Mac and Cheese is better. Now the most important part about this is that you need to mix it. Common mixers include tuna fish and chili. These are both great ways to get rid of some old chili or Mac and Cheese.

And always remember, salt isn’t an exotic flavor, it’s the bare minimum.

Don’t forget about the sides.

Clam Dip: A mixture of clam and cream cheese. Horrible if you care about calorie intake, great otherwise. The dip is best enjoyed with Ruffles, or their generic counterparts.

Dips are vitally important to Midwestern cuisine, since what else is supposed to accompany you as you use football as an excuse to get drunk.

These are all what people consider good “Midwestern” food. The next section is not that. The next section is like you walked into the Great Depression with the qualities of these dishes.

Chicken and Rice

Anyone who knows anything about Midwesterns knows that there’s a certain obsession with having chicken and rice. It’s not like these are incorporated into some other tastier dish, but is literally just chicken and rice. No seasoning, no sauce, literally just chicken and rice heaped onto a plate. This is the reason that “Midwestern” food gets a bad rap.

For those of you who are regularly submitted to the torture of eating flavorless chicken and rice, theres a few things you need to do. Firstly don’t eat chicken breast, it’s not only the most expensive cut of the chicken currently, but also tastes the worst. I personally recommend chicken thighs, and while they’re not as lean, they make up for it in flavor. The next piece to the puzzle is seasoning.

And for the bodybuilders, don’t worry these two are good for you, and their calories are negligible. The two seasonings you’ll want to use are salt and cayenne pepper. Salt, because it is necessary in almost all cooking, plus it has sodium, which you sweat out large amounts of while exercising. And always remember, salt isn’t an exotic flavor, it’s the bare minimum. The cayenne pepper is for flavor, and it actually helps your circulatory system, so it’s a win-win. Feel free to add more seasoning if you are willing to add a combined 10 calories to your food. What isn’t a win-win however is how some Midwesterns cook steak.


If you’re wanting to cook a steak, the cut is extremely important. The perfect middle ground between price and flavor is going to be sirloins. If someone tries to pan sear a flank steak, run. It does not matter how well seasoned it is, it will be super tough. If you do want to eat a flank steak, sous vide it first. To prevent the steak from tasting and feeling like you’re eating a leather shoe seasoning is important. 

Salt is a must have, and you’ll want to let your steak sit with only the salt on it for about 5 minutes before cooking. Then play it safe, add pepper and onion powder, maybe garlic powder if you don’t choose to follow the next step. Baste your steak with a little bit of butter, and add in thyme rosemary, and garlic to the pan. Only baste however after you get a good sear on your steak, so that the outside crusts up a little bit, but not to the point of charring.

The most important part, however, is to let your steak rest. After you remove the steak from the pan let it sit for at least five minutes. Otherwise your steak won’t have time to properly break down the collagens inside of it and will still be tough.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wh–I mean Midwestern food. Just remember there is no reason to eat like the stock market just crashed, because a big thing of salt is five dollars, and you might as well like what you’re eating. You have to do it three times a day after all.

About the Contributor
Matt Allen
Matt Allen, Reporter