“I’m from here *points to arbitrary point on hand*”
~Every Michigan resident
At this point, you likely are familiar with the setup here. The American States of America takes each and every state, one by one, and tells you their most American quality. Some states are great at drinking. Some are great at inventing fatty foods. We’re pretty sure one of them leads the nation in motorcycle-riding-obese-Dwarfs per capita. We don’t know what state that is, but we want to go there right the fuck now. But until then, we’ll just focus on the things that make the following American states so damn American.
MICHIGAN: Admitted on January 26th, 1837
Michigan is home to Detroit, which has the honor of being the birthplace of the American auto industry, but the ignominy of being Detroit. However, despite its starring role in films such as 8 Mile and Robocop, Detroit, and even its auto industry, do not serve as the most American aspect of Michigan.
Michigan has a lot of qualities it could hang its hat on, but all of them pale in comparison to their beer making techniques.
That’s right, depending on your quality-versus-quantity assessments of beer producing states, Michigan is home to some of the best breweries in the nation, and in a list of the top rated American-made beers of 2012, Michigan was responsible for each of the top three entries, and four out of the top ten. Bells and Founders, based in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids respectively, have been named the second and third best breweries in the world in 2013, while Kuhnhenn in Warren, Dark Horse in Marshall, Jolly Pumpkin in Dexter, and New Holland Brewing in New Holland all brew nationally acclaimed beers that happen to have a nice high alcohol content to get you drunk faster. Hell, you can go to a town of 2,000 people and still find a Brewpub that rivals the best brews in the rest of the United States. In a way, that’s kind of beautiful. And in another way, it’s even more beautiful because Michigan made sure to give you some delicious beer goggles as a way to welcome you into the state.
FLORIDA: Admitted on March 3rd, 1845
Florida, you so crazy. No, seriously, that’s what Florida does better than any other state in the nation. Sure, they churn out the retirement communities and Waffle House locations like it’s their job, but really, Florida is the state that crazy people go to avoid state income tax and stay to hunt giant pythons.
Seriously, if you hear a news story that is completely and utterly insane, you’d be surprised if it wasn’t from Florida. We’ve got the guy arrested for having sex with a donkey, the man who stole steaks and wine to “impress a lady,” the lady getting arrested for riding a Manatee like a surfboard, and, you know, that one time a dude on bath salts ate the face of that other dude. Florida is America’s wild card, where no matter how crazy the story, you’d shrug your shoulders and go, “Well, yeah. You know. Florida.” Have a governor who accidentally mixes up a meningitis help line with a phone sex line? Sounds like Florida to us. Giant, 100-foot Lego man wash ashore somewhere? Flor-i-duh. Really, everything and anything is possible in that state. And that’s just how we like it. Florida is that creepy homeless guy who smells like pee mumbling to himself in tongues on your Subway car—sure, he’s crazy, but he’s the harmless kind of crazy that makes other unwanted passengers think twice before getting on the car with you. We don’t have any definitive proof of this, but we’re pretty sure that the only reason we’ve never been Red Dawn’d yet is that each time an invasion of America is considered by an enemy of this nation, some dude dies from eating too many cockroaches in an insect eating contest, and they just slowly back away and go, “Yeesh, okay fine, never mind, forget we said anything.”
TEXAS: Admitted on December 29th, 1845
Hey look, it’s Texas, the state that was voted “least preferable to mess with” in America’s high school yearbook! They also tend to view every state that isn’t the Lone Star state the same way we tend to view countries that don’t end in “Merica.” Texas is the largest state in the continental United States, while also being the second most populous. It is home to three of the ten most populous cities in the nation, a slew of professional sports teams, Nolan Ryan, and, almost as importantly, Nolan Ryan’s wife.
And while Texas is a prideful nation with a rich history and a lot of gun owners who might not appreciate our attempts to distill the essence of Texas into one arbitrary category, we’re going to do it anyway. We’ll just have to avoid Six Flags locations for a while.
But screw it, we’re going to go with Tex-Mex cuisine.
Texas knows how to cook the hell out of a meal, we’ll grant them that. It’s enough to put them among the top 10 most obese states on a pretty consistent basis, but it’s the way they approach food that impresses us. Texas basically looked just south of their border and, while shaking their fists and mapping out rudimentary blueprints for large fences, said, “Hey, some of that food looks like it could be tasty. You know, if we added a fuck-ton of meat and cheese and, I don’t know, made it spicy as all hell.” And then they stole the hell out of Mexico’s food and made it infinitely better. The existence of Tex-Mex is the main reason why most spring break students that try to go to an authentic Mexican place while in Cabo find themselves riddled with disappointment (also dysentery). Because if you want chili con carde, chili con queso, or fajitas, you’re better off looking in the good old state of Texas.
IOWA: Admitted on December 28th, 1846
When people think of Iowa, they think of long stretches of corn fields, the world’s largest truck stop, and the birthplace of James T. Kirk. People tend to forget, however, that Iowa is known as the “Food Capital of the World.” Now, certain cities tend to take offense at that. Paris no doubt would point out it’s influential use of gourmet ingredients, Tokyo would make mention of their fresh seafood and world-class sushi, and New York would just get mad that we didn’t include them in the conversation. But no other part of this world has provided more invention and insanity to humanity’s collective palate than Iowa, and more specifically, the insane fried foods that often debut at the Iowa State Fair.
When your event website has its own section for “Butter Cow” and clicking on it confirms your suspicion that this page is in reference to life-sized cows carved entirely out of butter, you know you’ve grabbed hold of something truly American. Iowa might not have invented the concept of fried foods on a stick, but they absolutely perfected its execution. They figured out how to deep fry butter, you guys! If that doesn’t earn you a mention for your American wherewithal, we don’t know what does.
WISCONSIN: Admitted on May 29th, 1848
Whoops, shit, our bad. Wrong state flag.
Dammit, no, that’s not it either.
Ah, there we go. America’s Dairyland will always have a special place with the staff of AFFotD due to their tireless efforts to promote the positive benefits of cheese and beer. Those crossing the border of Illinois are immediately told what to expect as they are greeted by the Mars Cheese Castle, which essentially tells you, “Abandon all hope, arteries who enter here.” Wisconsin is home of the New Glarus brewery, which manages to be the 32nd largest brewing company in the country, despite the fact that they refuse to sell it outside of the state. It is largely speculated that the brewery makes this demand because that’s the only way that they can be sure that cheese curds can be purchased at the same location as their beer.
Of course, Wisconsin knows how to fatten you up through means other than cheese and beer, even though we don’t see why you have to tinker with perfection. Due to their large German population, especially in Milwaukee, steak tartar (the most American way to eat steak) can be found without much difficulty, and bratwurst is a required food staple. But the important thing to focus on is that Wisconsin drinks so much beer that their definition of diet food is a jack and diet and that they consume so much dairy that cows get nervous if a Wisconsinite glances at its udders. And that’s a wonderful thing.
So there we have it, another five states, another portion of the population wondering if we did any research other than a few lazy Wikipedia searches. Remember, if you don’t agree with our assessment of your state, you should work on making your fellow residents drink more. Trust us, if we saw a news report saying the entire population of, say, South Dakota was currently stumbling in the streets drunkenly after having depleted the state’s supply of liquor, we’d write about that in a heartbeat. It’s not that hard. It’s just American.