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When it comes to culinary creativity, Iowa is down for it.
Want to fry butter? DO IT. Want to make enchilada funnel cakes? Yay for sweet and savory food mashups!
But if you want to throw American cheese on a strawberry Pop-Tart and claim it’s an Iowa thing ... you will be disowned. "Midwest nice" is a real thing — but so is Midwest ice, as one Iowa State University student recently discovered.
Chris Jorgensen, a sophomore, posted a now-viral image on Twitter last week with two strawberry toaster pastries with American cheese melted in between to make a sandwich.
That combo might make some feel a bit queasy, but the real backlash that ensued was fueled more by his caption: "You ain’t from Iowa if you never had one of these.”
But is a Pop-Tart grilled cheese really a Midwestern delicacy? The internet says no way.
Iowans responded in droves to stop their reputation from being sullied — and to call out this crime against humanity.
By Tuesday, Jorgensen's original Tweet had racked up over a 1,000 comments. But a response from the ISU campus police has blown that post out of the water with over 190,000 retweets and half a million likes.
But unlike some of the great or gross food trend trends we've examined in the past (like the green avocado macaroni and cheese recipe or the cold SpaghettiO Jell-O mold), Jorgensen knew his dish was likely to cause a mild uproar.
“I thought: ‘What could be the grossest thing I could put between two Pop-Tarts?’” he told the Des Moines Register.
“So I went to the fridge and got a cheese slice.” And, according to the paper, he only took one bite out of it after caving to pressure from his roommates, who told him he needed to actually try it in order to post about it.
The Kansas City Star aptly summed it up: “So it’s not really an ‘Iowa thing’ after all. It’s more of a ‘bored college student’ thing.”
While Iowans might not forgive him anytime soon, Jorgenson did find common ground with people (including this writer) who grew up with the same plates on which he put his Franken-wich.
"Apparently everyone's grandma has those plates," Jorgensen told the Register.