|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2012)|
|Alternative names||Tots, taters, potato goodness, potato rounds|
|Course||Entrée or side dish, sometimes as part of a main course|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Region or state||Ontario, OR|
|Creator||F. Nephi Grigg, and Golden Grigg (in 1953)|
|Serving temperature||Hot (shipped frozen)|
|160 per 86g serving kcal|
|Cookbook:Tater Tots Tater Tots|
A tater tot is a side dish made from deep-fried, grated potatoes. They are widely recognized by their crispness, cylindrical shape, and small size. Tater Tots is a registered trademark of Ore-Ida (a division of the H. J. Heinz Company), which has become genericized.
The product was created in 1953 when Ore-Ida founders F. Nephi Grigg and Golden Grigg were trying to figure out what to do with leftover slivers of cut-up potatoes. They chopped up the slivers, added flour and seasoning, then pushed the mash through holes and sliced off pieces of the extruded mixture. The product was first offered in stores in 1956.
Originally, the product was very inexpensive. According to advertising lectures at Iowa State University, people did not buy it at first because there was no perceived value. When the price was raised, people began buying it. Today, Americans consume approximately 70 million pounds of tater tots per year.
When the tater tot product was first produced, there was no name for them. The owners of Ore-Ida decided to hold a contest among the employees that would help determine the product name. Clora Lay Orton, then a young house mother, submitted the name "tater tots". The name was a hit and she won the contest.
"Tater" is slang for potato (origin: 1750–60; America; by apheresis, "tato", and substitution of -er for final -o, "tater"); "Tots" may have been derived from their diminutive size, or because they are often served to children. In some regions, the term "tater" is dropped, and the snack is informally called "tots".
The supermarket chain Safeway Inc. has a generic brand, "Tater Treats". Sonic drive-in also features Tater Tots as a regular menu item, with the option of cheese, chili, or both as toppings; tots with cheese are branded "Cheesy Tots". Cheesy Tots are coin-shaped and, as implied by the name, contain melted cheese as well as potatoes. Several restaurants in the Pacific Northwest offer a nacho version of tots ("totchos"), covered in nacho cheese sauce and toppings.
Some Mexican-style fast-food restaurants offer seasoned Tater Tots: Taco Time and Señor Frog's call them "Mexi-Fries", while Taco Bell used to sell them as "Mexi-Nuggets" and "Border Fries". Taco Mayo in the Southwest offers round disc-shaped tater tots called "Potato Locos." Taco John's also has coin shaped tots called "Potato Olés".
In some areas of the Northeast, however, they are often called "juliennes" or "potato puffs". In the Midwest states, Tater Tot Hotdish is a very popular soup-based casserole consisting of tater tots, ground beef, and various vegetables. Tater Tots are extensively referenced in the film Napoleon Dynamite.
Rest of the world
In Australia, they are known as "potato gems", "potato royals" or "potato pom-poms" (also used in New Zealand). In the United Kingdom, Ross Frozen Foods once produced "oven crunchies" which are no longer available, but are still produced and sold under the name "potato crunchies" by supermarket chain Morrisons. In Canada, McCain Foods Limited calls its line "Tasti Taters". Cascadian Farm calls its line "Spud Puppies".
- "Ore-Ida Fun Zone – Fun Facts". Ore-Ida.
- Lukas, Paul (November 1, 2003). "Mr. Potato Head – A Dirt-Poor Farmer Turned Spud Scraps into Gold". CNN Money. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
- "The Francis Nephi ("Neef") Grigg Papers". University of Utah Library Special Collections.
- "Ore-Ida Tater Tots – Nutrition Facts"
- The United States Patents Quarterly
- "Culinary Corner: The Fries Have It". WSOC-TV. Retrieved February 8, 2009.
- Fast Food and Junk Food: An Encyclopedia of What We Love to Eat: An ... - Andrew F. Smith. p. 695.
- "Tater". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
- "Tot". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
- Draft MAgazine The great tater tot September/October 2011
- Media related to Tater Tots at Wikimedia Commons