Midwesterners are unique, as anyone who has spent time in this part of the United States will attest. But how do you know if you’re a true native of the Midwest? Sure telltale signs set true Midwesterners apart.
Here are 30 signs showcasing the quirks, habits, and traditions that show you are a true Midwesterner.
If you hail from the Midwest, chances are you comprehensively understand Kringle. This sweet, oval-shaped pastry, often filled with various flavors, from fruit and nuts to cream cheese, might seem foreign to outsiders. However, to a true Midwesterner, it’s not just pastry; it symbolizes hospitality and tradition.
Gauging Distance in Terms of Time Rather Than Miles
Telling someone their destination is 60 miles away may garner a blank stare. But if you say it’s an hour’s drive, that makes perfect sense. This unusual habit reflects the Midwest’s comfortable pace of life and appreciation for the journey rather than just the destination.
Requesting a Pop
When you’re from the Midwest, you don’t just ask for a soda; you ask for a “pop.” This isn’t due to any linguistic mishap; it’s simply a part of their vocabulary. When an unbearable thirst hits, and you find yourself yearning for a carbonated beverage, it’s not a “Coke” or a “soda” that crosses your mind—it’s the fizz and bubble of an ice-cold “pop.” This is a telltale sign of your Midwestern roots, an unconscious nod toward the language and customs of your homeland.
The Teen Pilgrimage Site; Mall of America
As a true Midwesterner, your teenage years were defined by weekend trips to the Mall of America. The sheer scale of the place, with its endless array of shops, restaurants, and attractions like the Nickelodeon Universe theme park, made it a magnet for youngsters seeking entertainment and social interaction. Indeed, a highlight of your teenage years was the thrill of exploring every nook and cranny of this gigantic shopping complex.
One telltale sign of being a Midwestern native is the distinct accent. Characterized by its unique vowel pronunciations and flat intonations, the Midwestern accent, or ‘General American,’ is often perceived as the standard American English accent. From the nasal ‘a’ in words like “bag” to the hard ‘r’ sounds, if these speech patterns are second nature, you’ve undoubtedly got the roots.
Meat and Potatoes Vegan Diet
Suppose the phrase “vegan diet” instantly conjures images of a juicy steak with mashed potatoes. Meat and potatoes are a dietary staple, essential as air and water to the region’s inhabitants. A Midwestern vegan diet is a humorous oxymoron that encapsulates this personal aspect of the region’s culture.
Exploring Wisconsin Dells
If you’re a true Midwesterner, you’ve probably spent a summer exploring the Wisconsin Dells. This popular vacation spot, often called “The Waterpark Capital of the World,” is a notable checkmark on your Midwestern bucket list.
With its spectacular natural beauty, thrilling waterparks, and unique entertainment options, the Dells has something for everyone. Whether it was a family trip or a fun-filled day with friends, the memories of splashing around in the water parks and exploring the scenic riverbanks are deeply ingrained in your Midwest upbringing.
Creating a Delectable Puppy Chow
Not to be confused with actual dog food, this concoction is a sweet treat made from Chex cereal generously coated in melted chocolate and peanut butter, then dusted with powdered sugar. A staple at any Midwestern gathering, you pride yourself on your ability to whip up this sugary delight in no time. Friends and family often request your puppy chow for potlucks and parties – it’s a sure sign that you’re a true native of the Midwest.
“Oh Jeez” Expression
A telltale sign of a true Midwesterner is frequently using the phrase “Oh jeez.” This classic expression is a staple in Midwestern vocabulary, often used to express surprise, frustration, or downright disbelief. From accidentally dropping a casserole dish to witnessing an incredible sunset over the cornfields, there’s no situation too big or small that doesn’t warrant an “Oh jeez” from those hailing from the heartland. This slight linguistic nuance is a charming hallmark of the warm and unpretentious Midwestern character.
Trick-Or-Treating Wearing Snow Pants
In the Midwest, Halloween isn’t always about ghostly costumes and spooky decorations – it’s about being practical, too. It’s not unusual to see trick-or-treaters braving the chilly October nights with their favorite characters or spooky costumes layered over thick, warm snow pants.
While this might seem strange to outsiders, for a native of the Midwest, it’s just another sign of their practicality and adaptability to their environment. The trick-or-treat tradition in the Midwest is a unique blend of festivity and functionality that truly makes it a memorable experience.
Regarding Great Lakes As Better Than Any Ocean!
The Great Lakes, a majestic wonder bestowed by nature, hold a special place in the heart of a native of the Midwest. These vast expanses of fresh water, collectively known as America’s “inland seas,” are more captivating than any ocean.
From the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan to the rugged cliffs of Lake Superior, each lake offers a unique landscape that sparks a deep sense of wonder. These lakes aren’t just bodies of water but a cherished part of our Midwestern identity, encapsulating our love for nature’s grandeur.
Attending State Fairs
Attending state fairs is almost a rite of passage in the Midwest. A tradition steeped in community and agricultural pride, these events are marked on every Midwesterner’s calendar. There is something for everyone, from thrilling rides and games to livestock contests and local produce exhibitions.
The highlight for many, however, is the showcasing of local talents in baking, quilting, or livestock grooming, displaying a strong sense of community and regional identity. Yes, if you’ve attended these fairs, you’re a true native of the Midwest.
Leaving Your Car and House Unlocked Without Much Concern
A quintessential trait of a true Midwesterner is the habitual act of leaving their car and house unlocked without much concern. This practice stems from the Midwest’s deeply rooted sense of community and trust. The low crime rates and close-knit neighborhoods further reinforce this behavior.
4-H Membership is as much a part of being a true Midwesterner as corn fields and county fairs. With its roots in the corn belt, this youth development organization shapes Middle America’s future farmers, agricultural scientists, and environmental stewards. Being a 4-H member in the Midwest means summer camps, community service projects, and the much-anticipated county fair. For many, the 4-H emblem of the four-leaf clover is not just a symbol but a cherished memory and an integral part of their Midwestern identity.
Finding Highways Without Insane Religious Imagery; Drab & Boring
As a native Midwesterner, you’ve become so accustomed to seeing roadside religious monuments that a highway without them seems boring. The roadside displays, such as towering crosses and vivid billboards quoting Biblical verses, often handcrafted and maintained by local communities, are a testament to the deep-rooted faith and the desire to share their beliefs. Their absence on a long drive would feel like a missing piece of the Midwestern identity.
Knee-High by the Fourth of July
One unmistakable sign of being a true Midwesterner is abiding by the agricultural adage, “Knee-High by the Fourth of July.” This refers to the ideal growth stage for corn, a staple crop in the region, by Independence Day.
If the cornstalks are knee-high by this summer holiday, it signifies a healthy planting season and a strong harvest in the fall. This saying is not only part of the farming vocabulary, but it’s also deeply ingrained in the culture and tradition of the Midwest, symbolizing the region’s farming heritage and the importance of agriculture to its economy.
Regarding Casseroles as a Food Category
To a true Midwesterner, casseroles are not just a dish but a whole food category. They represent more than just a blend of ingredients baked in a single dish. They are the epitome of comfort food, a culinary tradition, and an emblem of Midwestern hospitality. From the classic Tater Tot casserole to the ever-popular Green Bean casserole served on Thanksgiving, these hearty concoctions are a staple at any Midwestern family gathering, potluck, or holiday meal.
Having a Lake Cottage
The “Land of 10,000 Lakes” is a moniker proudly worn by Minnesota and for good reason. Nothing beats spending long summer weekends at the lake house, fishing, canoeing, or enjoying the serene lake views. These lake houses often passed down through generations, become a unique gathering spot for family and friends, synonymous with fond memories of barbecues, bonfires, and the much-loved Midwest pastime of cornhole competitions.
Longing for the Blue Moon Ice Cream
If the mention of Blue Moon ice cream sends a rush of sweet nostalgia through your veins, you’re definitely from the Midwest. This unique flavor, which remains a debated mystery, is a staple in local ice cream parlors and a cherished part of summer traditions. Its distinctive blue hue and irresistible taste, often described as a blend of fruit loops and marshmallows, is something Midwesterners long for outside their home region. This longing is not just for the ice cream itself, but for the cherished memories and sense of community it embodies.
Pimento Cheese: A Christmas Event Staple!
Pimento Cheese is unique in the heartland of America, the Midwest, particularly during the festive season. This iconic blend of sharp cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and sweet pimento peppers, stirred together until creamy and spreadable, is a Christmas event staple. When the holiday decorations appear, you can bet a tub of this zesty cheese delight won’t be far behind. This culinary tradition has deep roots in Midwestern culture, signifying the holiday season’s warmth, togetherness, and comfort.
Pumpkin Picking and Hayrides
If you’re a true Midwestern native, you’ll likely have fond memories of spending crisp fall days in the pumpkin patch, seeking the perfect pumpkin to carve into a jack-o-lantern. The experience is incomplete without a jaunty hayride, bundled up in flannel and sipping on hot apple cider while enjoying the kaleidoscope of fall colors in the surrounding countryside. This annual tradition, steeped in the heart of the Midwest, is more than just a fun activity—it’s a cherished ritual that connects you to your roots.
Instead of Saying “Going Camping,” It’s Common To Say “Going up North.”
This phrase signifies an escape from urban life and a journey towards pristine lakes, dense forests, and tranquil serenity. It entails a retreat to a cabin in the woods, days filled with fishing and bonfires, and nights spent under the starlit sky. This quintessential Midwestern expression is more than just a change in scenery—it’s a cherished tradition and a way of life.
If mentioning this name immediately brings to mind the image of a brightly dressed, red-haired clown from a popular televised children’s show, you’ve spent significant time in the Midwest. Many Midwestern children grew up watching “The Bozo Show,” and participating in the Grand Prize Game, a staple segment of the show, is a cherished memory for many. Bozo the Clown is a cultural icon whose popularity in the Midwest transcends generations.
You’ve Had A Summer Adventure at the Indiana Dunes
If you’re a true native of the Midwest, chances are you’ve had a summer adventure at the Indiana Dunes. This popular Midwest destination, nestled on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, is a testament to the region’s beauty.
Whether climbing the shifting dunes, picnicking by the lake, or exploring the diverse trails, the unique combination of beach and forest offers an unforgettable experience. The memories of golden sunlight, sandy toes, and the refreshing lake breeze are signature signs of a Midwest summer.
Your home state is the birthplace of at least three prominent fast-food chains.
Midwestern natives take great pride in that their home region is the birthplace of a significant portion of America’s fast-food industry. Not just one or two, but at least three renowned fast-food chains originated in the Midwest.
From the mouthwatering burgers of McDonald’s that began in Illinois to the delightful dairy concoctions of Dairy Queen originating in Illinois and the unique square hamburgers of Wendy’s that Ohio gave birth to – the Midwest has played a pivotal role in shaping America’s fast-food landscape.
You Are Familiar With the Term “Lake Effect”
If you’re a true native of the Midwest, the term “Lake Effect” is as familiar to you as your name. This phenomenon refers to the process where cold air masses move across long expanses of warmer lake water, leading to increased evaporation levels from the lake into the colder air above.
This moisture-rich air can form clouds and produce significant snowfall, leading to sudden and intense snowstorms. For a Midwesterner, understanding the “Lake Effect” is more than just meteorological know-how – it’s a survival skill.
You Lack an Understanding of What a Hill Is
Living in a region known for its flat, sprawling plains, you might struggle to comprehend what people mean when they talk about “hills.” You may even find yourself gazing in awe at a mere 30-foot incline, considering it a mountain.
While the rest of the world takes hilly landscapes for granted, your idea of a hill might be confined to highway overpasses or the occasional bump in a cornfield. This lack of understanding of hills is a hilarious yet endearing trait that identifies you as a true native of the Midwest.
The Hardee’s,never Carl’s Jr
To a true Midwesterner, the fast-food chain known for its charbroiled burgers is always Hardee’s, never Carl’s Jr. Even though both names represent the same restaurant with the same menu, a genuine Midwestern native would never make the mistake of calling it by the wrong name. This regional loyalty is an inherent aspect of Midwest culture. Whether it’s a simple matter of semantics or a deeper allegiance, one thing is clear: It’s Hardee’s, not Carl’s Jr.
Even if you don’t use the term “bubbler,” you’re familiar with what it means if you’re a true native of the Midwest. In the Midwestern vernacular, a bubbler isn’t a bubble machine, as someone from elsewhere might guess. Instead, it is what many people call a drinking or water fountain.
This unique regional term is a testament to the distinctive Midwestern dialect and reflects the region’s rich linguistic history. So, even if you call it a water fountain, knowing what a bubbler is signals your roots in the Midwest.
Greetings on the Street
Greeting everyone on the street is a classic Midwestern trait ingrained from a young age. Whether it’s a wave, a nod, or a friendly “Hello,” no one passes by without some acknowledgment. This friendly demeanor is so ingrained in you that you instinctively greet strangers on the sidewalk, even when visiting larger, bustling cities. This propensity for warm and casual greetings is a hallmark of the Midwest and a sign that you hail from this hospitable region.
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