The Most Overhyped Foods in Minnesota


Welcome to Minnesota, a state that’s a treasure trove of scenic landscapes, passionate sports enthusiasts and a vast array of tantalizing meals. And yet, not all of those meals are equally tantalizing. In fact, some, I posit, are overhyped.

Today, I’m going to hop on an engaging exploration of Minnesota’s culinary scene, a realm as varied and vibrant as the state’s 10,000 shimmering lakes. Get ready as I navigate through the heart of Minnesota, casting a light-hearted yet insightful gaze on some of its most discussed, and highly overhyped, meals. 

Lutefisk: The Stuff of Legends (and Nightmares)

Let’s kick things off with Lutefisk. This is a dish that takes fish – something people generally enjoy – and soaks it in lye until it’s a gooey, semi-transparent mess. It’s like they decided to take a perfectly good fish and turn it into a science experiment. If your recipe involves the words “soak it in lye,” you’re probably not on the right track.

Tater Tot Hotdish: Comfort Food or Culinary Catastrophe?

Next, we have the notorious Tater Tot Hotdish. It’s a casserole that seems to show up at every Minnesotan gathering. Picture this: a mishmash of tater tots, starch, meat, canned veggies and canned soup. It’s as if someone raided the pantry, threw a bunch of stuff together, and said, “Voila! Dinner!” Kind of like the fruitcake of Minnesota – it’s always there, but does anyone really eat it?

Wild Rice: The Overachiever

Now, onto Minnesota’s state grain: wild rice. This stuff is everywhere in Minnesota and while it’s nutritious and local, it’s not exactly thrilling. It’s sort of like that one friend who always brings kale chips to the party. We appreciate the health-conscious effort but sometimes, you just want some good old-fashioned potato chips.

Juicy Lucy: The Burger That Bites Back

Then there’s the Juicy Lucy, a cheese-stuffed burger that’s been delighting and scorching mouths in equal measure since the 1950s. The idea seems simple: put the cheese inside the patty. But in practice, it’s a molten cheese trap waiting to burn your mouth. Who thought a mouthful of lava-hot cheese was a good idea?

Spam: A Love-Hate Relationship

Last but not least, we have Spam. This canned, precooked meat product is oddly beloved in Minnesota. Its maker, Hormel Foods Corporation, is even based there (and there’s a museum…). Maybe it’s the versatility or convenience that appeals but let’s be real: there’s nothing quite like the sound of a can of Spam being opened… and then hastily closed again.

Now it’s important to remember that these food items, with all their quirks and idiosyncrasies, are part of the rich tapestry that makes up Minnesota’s culinary heritage. They speak of traditions, histories and shared experiences that are as diverse as the state’s many lakes. 

But, still overhyped.