Words

Words

COMFORT PHO-D

Labor and love are crucial ingredients in this feel-good Vietnamese dish.

Andrea Nguyen was just six years old when her family fled Vietnam. It was 1975, the end of the Vietnam War. Nguyen, her parents and her four siblings left Saigon—now Ho Chi Minh City—and landed 8,212 miles away in San Clemente, California. It was nothing like home, despite her parents’ best efforts.

“They were hell bent on making sure we retained our cultural roots,” Nguyen said. “We spoke Vietnamese at home and ate mostly Vietnamese food.”

And on Sunday mornings, after church was done, they ate pho…

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A Far-Out Field Trip

Take a drive to visit seven of the Midwest’s most quirky, road-trip-worthy museums.

Elementary school field trips are a rite of passage, but your local history museum doesn’t hold a candle to these seven lesser-known gems scattered across the Midwest. From exhibits displaying Oprah’s favorite mustard to a collection of floral designs made entirely of human hair, these museums highlight everything that’s great about the Midwest: our creativity, ingenuity and questionable hair choices…

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GRAVEL ROAD ANTHEMS

Urban Plain’s definitive playlist for aimlessly driving around the Midwest’s backroads.

Most Midwesterners understand that dirt roads are like double-dog dares: You just can’t say no. And there’s no better way to take in the rolling hills, questionable bridges and endless possibilities than with songs that are equal parts dust and daydreams. So grab your auxiliary cord, roll down your car windows and hit play on this specially curated mix of shoutouts to the Midwest and its musical roots…

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HOLY HOTDISH 

A history of Minnesota’s most revered meal- and don’t call it a casserole.

A concoction of browned beef, onions, frozen corn, green beans and a hefty helping of canned cream of mushroom soup—all topped with tater tots and baked to perfection. If you’re from the Midwest, it’s a casserole. If you’re from the coasts, it’s a mystery. But if you’re from Minnesota, it’s a hot dish…

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