I found a great article answering this difficult question, one I have often asked myself. I grew up eating Italian food from The Hill neighborhood in St. Louis, so much so that I consider it a staple in my weekly meal rotations. My friends in Kansas City eat lots of Mexican food and BBQ. The Midwest truly is a diverse region, with culture and foods from all over the country and the world which is reflected in our daily meals.
Check out this article from The Reader:
"But here is where all these people, obnoxious as they are, have one great advantage over us: when they're far from home, in alien territory, feeling lost and homesick, they have the means to reassert themselves and reestablish their identities. At the very least, they can eat! If you know what good grits taste like, you must be a southerner. What do we midwesterners have?"