Sense of Place: Food and Cuisine of the Midwest

updated Jun 9, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

When it’s not meat and potatoes, it’s…well, it’s still meat and potatoes, except it’s disguised as casserole, soup, or meatloaf!

Meals in the Midwest are a hearty mix of German and Scandinavian cuisines: heavy on the cream and light on the spices. And with this being the birthplace of the potluck dinner, you can be sure that you’re always welcome to pull up a chair.

Communal dinners, church suppers, and potlucks were a big part of life on the frontier. Even today, you can drive through the Midwest and see signs for drop-in church dinners or Friday night fish fries in every small town you come to!

True to style, most of these recipes will feed a crowd or can be frozen for future crowd-feeding.

Soups and Sides:
Minnesota Wild Rice Soup from
• Sauerkraut from Wild Fermentation
Swedish Limpa Rye Bread from Recipezaar

Main Dishes:
Swedish Meatballs from the Food Network
German Style Onions and Bratwurst from Chef2Chef
Basic Fish Fry from Recipezaar
Upper Peninsula (ie, Michigan!) Pasties from Pasties Pasties
Classic Meatloaf from Simply Recipes

Church Suppers and Potlucks:
Easy Noodle Kugel from Epicurious
Green Bean Casserole from Campbell’s Kitchen
Tuna Noodle Casserole from the Boston Globe

Streusel Kuchen from Epicurious
Raisin Sour Cream Bars from AllRecipes
Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler from Epicurious
Apple Brown Betty from Epicurious

Ok, Midwesterners, what other foods deserve a place on our list?!

(Image: Flickr members VirtualErn, Cameron Nordholm, and jslander licensed under Creative Commons)