Exploring the unique qualities of Midwest culture

Chalee Hettinger, Staff Reporter

Everyone knows that the Midwest has its distinctive qualities when being compared to the rest of the United States. Some qualities are good, some qualities are weird and some qualities are arguably bad. However, if you put all of these elements together, no one can deny the specifically unique habits, hobbies and people that make the Midwest the Midwest. 

To start off the list, terminology is a big factor that changes over the regions of the U.S. For instance, Midwesterners say “pop” instead of “soda.” When we say “tennis shoes,” chances are we are not looking for shoes to play tennis in, but rather sneakers or running shoes. And when we are being polite and trying to say “excuse me,” the infamous “ope” comes out instead. 

Dr. Timothy Nelson, English professor at Shawnee State University, said that “a ‘hotdish’ in the Midwest is equivalent to what some call a ‘casserole’ in other regions.

The Midwest, specifically Ohio, seems to be notorious for creating odd food combinations, along with related terminology. Of course you have Skyline Chili’s signature dish, which consists of spaghetti noodles topped with chili and cheese, but another common chili pairing locally is that with a peanut butter sandwich. Non-Ohioans typically pair their chili with cornbread. One will also only find the dessert known as a Buckeye, appropriately in Ohio. A Buckeye is simply a peanut butter ball covered in chocolate, meant to resemble the fruit from Ohio’s state tree. 

Kim Smith, originally from Montana, said, “Hot dog sauce is not a thing where I’m from. It was always chili on a hot dog, never a sauce.

It’s no secret that the Midwest loves their sports. One can find baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse, hockey and more throughout the region. It’s not really the sports that are different from other areas, but the dedicated fan bases and arch-rivalries that make the people go crazy that establishes the difference. College football, for example, is a major fall event. The Midwest is home to the NCAA’s Big Ten Conference and many of the biggest football games of the year, including Ohio State University versus the University of Michigan. This football game has been one of the biggest rivalry matchups of all-time for almost 100 years. 

Ohio State University’s fan base loves the college so much that they tried to get “The” to be officially part of the name, and a trademark request was recently approved, supporting thousands of Ohioans’ reference to the school as “The Ohio State University.” Most people who are not from Ohio or who are not die-hard sports fans think this is extreme, but it’s all part of the Midwest culture.

On a positive note, a lot of people say the Midwest is a very nice place to live. The rural parts are small and quiet. 

John Bullock, originally from England, said, “The people are quite friendly, and I have never received kinder hospitality anywhere else.”

With cornfields for miles and a warm welcome everywhere you go, the Midwest is undeniably a unique place to live. Although some qualities vary and may seem good, odd, or bad, there will always be a Midwesterner there to back it up.