Where is the Midwest, anyway? Canada?

by Katie on April 26, 2011

We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to use another brand spankin’ new John Deere test tractor this month. Aside from needing us to put hours on the machine, John Deere also sent out a contracted tech/service man to do some testing of his own for them, during and after it was used for the day.

The kid they sent (I say “kid”. Dude was two years younger than me. But he had a baby face.) was from Illinois, grew up on a corn and soybean farm (What else, right? I did say Illinois.) which his dad still operates, etc. Nice, friendly, good worker.

Poor kid was here for two solid weeks, much of it spent waiting on us to finish with the tractor for the day so he could do the things he was being paid to do. Whatever that was. He took over running it on several jobs for us, which was much appreciated.

But we, or at least I, started to feel bad for the guy. Young kid, stuck in an unfamiliar place, semi-bored for two weeks, including a weekend and the Easter holiday. The first Saturday he was here, we invited him over for supper, to at least provide a small bit of Saturday night entertainment (otherwise known as a “cold drink” or two in Brandon language).

I headed off to the Mexican meat market in town, where I asked them to dip me out a few pounds of marinated chicken from a plastic tub behind the glass counter (Brandon did not appreciate me telling him exactly how/where this meat was procured; he’s never bought it, only tasted it, and it tastes great.), which we planned on serving to this kid with some amazing pinto beans we’d made a few days earlier, tortillas, roasted poblano peppers and an appetizer of jalapeño poppers. So, you know, give him the whole Southwestern cultural experience.

Something told me to check with him on the whole jalapeno thing before I spent time putting together the popper cheese mixture, de-seeding the peppers and assembling them. Good thing, because he informed us he did not like jalapeños.

When we placed the poblano peppers on the grill to roast, he asked what in the world they were. When we were removing the skin from them before placing them on the serving platter, he asked what we were doing. And then, he “didn’t really care” for the pepper when he tasted it.

The following weekend, we invited him to our annual Good Friday fish fry, which he ended up having to miss, but we had him in for a leftover lunch the next day. We only had fish and hushpuppies left from the feast the night before. When we explained this to him as we set everything out to make his plate, he looked at us funny and asked, “What’s a hushpuppy?”

I don’t think I could say anything. I was too busy picking my jaw up from the floor. I mean, how does one make it 23 years without ever having tasted a hushpuppy, let alone seen/heard of one? Brandon handled this much better and gave the poor, hushpuppy-sheltered kid an idea of what he was about to put in his mouth.

But, seriously.

No jalapeños? No roasted chilies of any sort? No hushpuppies, for crying out loud?

What do they eat in the Midwest?

Does the whole “corn-fed” thing mean corn-fed only?

You have to wonder…or at least feel sorry for them.

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