Mr. ETB doing his best Townie impersonation:
"You wanna kick it up a notch a meal? You should toss on some salt and pepper! That'll kick it up a Lancaster County notch or two."
In defense of Midwestern cookery, which is all I knew as a child-we do occasionally use spices. Sometimes if we're feeling really adventurous we put a pinch of cardamom in the rice pudding. In fact, my mother used to make some sort of skinless chicken breast thing (largely responsible for my vegetarianism) that involved a pinch of dried oregano. That was her, "Italian Chicken" which was different from her regular old, skinless chicken breast thing poached in V-8 juice with slimy courgettes.There might have even been some garlic powder involved. How exotic is that! My point is, we do use spices in the Midwest, we just don't get all showy about it. Sometimes the potato salad even gets some paprika sprinkled on top. You don't want to distract from the whitefish, mashed potatoes, and boiled cauliflower-all served on a white plate, with a bunch of colourful fresh herbs.