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View Full Version : Who invented tater tots and why?


Zebra
04-30-2006, 11:45 AM
Don't get me wrong, I like tater tots but they are different. People can make 'homemade' french fries, hash browns, onion rings. They dont' have to buy them frozen and heat them.

But tater tots...


There is no such thing as a 'homemade' tater tot. Tater tots are only factory made. So, How did these things come about? What industrial accident led to tots?

brianjedi
04-30-2006, 11:47 AM
I don't know, but I think we should be celebrating his or her birthday. And give them a statue.

brianjedi
04-30-2006, 11:49 AM
Looking at the Wikipedia article, they were invented by Ore-Ida in the 1950s as a way of using the shreds left over from making french fries.

Revtim
04-30-2006, 11:50 AM
I don't know who, but I likely know why: because they are most delicious way to combine potatoes and grease. Mmmmmmmm, potatoes and grease....

bobkitty
04-30-2006, 11:51 AM
[yankee living in the south pet peeve]

POTATO PUFFS. They are freakin' called POTATO PUFFS. "TATER" IS NOT A WORD. AND DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT.

[/ylitspp]

Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tater_Tots) has this to say. I would imagine one of the prime reasons for keeping them around is precisely because you have to buy them- it's a great finger food for kids, they serve it in schools all the time, and they must rake in the bucks selling them.

StarvingButStrong
04-30-2006, 11:52 AM
There is no such thing as a 'homemade' tater tot. Tater tots are only factory made. So, How did these things come about? What industrial accident led to tots?

Not an industrial accident. See, long ago there were these things called "TV Dinners." At first they all seemed to have mashed potatoes as the side dish, but that wasn't satisfactory with entrees that didn't have gravy. Such as as fried chicken, or fish sticks. They wanted to use french fries in those, instead, but natural french fries aren't uniform enough AND you usually didn't get them crisp enough in the time it took to 'cook' the TV dinner.

What was needed was a new form of potatoes, something that came in small enough bits to cook quickly, was uniform in size, had the fried tasted people liked.... So you shred the potatoes into small bits, mix in some extra starch, maybe, so the shreds stick together -- so far you could be making hash browns. The stroke of genius is extruding this mix and chopping it into uniform chunks. Now, prefry the result until brownish but not totally cooked....and we have the miracle known as Tater Tots!

Zebra
04-30-2006, 11:55 AM
Looking at the Wikipedia article, they were invented by Ore-Ida in the 1950s as a way of using the shreds left over from making french fries.



That makes a little sense.


I can see it now.

[Mr. Ore] Looke at these tiny shreds of potato that are being WASTSED!
[Mr. Ida] Jennings! Get over here and make a product from thise stuff!



But how did Jennings get them into little cylinders?

brianjedi
04-30-2006, 12:14 PM
[yankee living in the south pet peeve]

POTATO PUFFS. They are freakin' called POTATO PUFFS. "TATER" IS NOT A WORD. AND DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT.

[/ylitspp]

Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tater_Tots) has this to say. I would imagine one of the prime reasons for keeping them around is precisely because you have to buy them- it's a great finger food for kids, they serve it in schools all the time, and they must rake in the bucks selling them.

Potato puffs? There's nothing puff-like about a Tater Tot. A "potato puff" sounds like a fancy appetizer involving mashed potatoes and a pastry bag.

samclem
04-30-2006, 12:45 PM
[yankee living in the south pet peeve]

POTATO PUFFS. They are freakin' called POTATO PUFFS. "TATER" IS NOT A WORD. AND DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT.

[/ylitspp]

Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tater_Tots) has this to say.
Is it just me, or does that close-up picture of tater tots on wiki look more like a med school pic of some body part gone bad?

No matter WHAT Ore-Ida says about Tater Tots being some miracle invention as a way to use up slivers of potatoes One of the most famous Ore-Ida® products are Tater Tots® shredded potatoes, first created in 1953 when the Grigg brothers were looking for new ways to use potatoes in their french fry business. They created bite-sized treats from slivers of potatoes and branded them “Tater Tots®” shredded potatoes. The first star in the Ore-Ida® family was born! from http://www.oreida.com/funzone/history.aspx, the truth is that they first used these slivers in a product called "potato patties." This is all you could find in stores before approximately 1957-58. You don't see Tater Tots in grocery ads until 1958.

Ore-Ida even say in their trademark application that the name was first used in commerce in Dec 1956, filed their application in 1957, and trademark was granted in 1958. But their website would mislead you to believe that they had Tater Tots out in stores in 1953.

Nars Glinley
04-30-2006, 01:21 PM
[QUOTE=bobkitty][yankee living in the south pet peeve]

POTATO PUFFS. They are freakin' called POTATO PUFFS. "TATER" IS NOT A WORD. AND DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT.

[/ylitspp]
I'm afraid them's fightin' words. Specifically, googlefight (http://www.googlefight.com/index.php?lang=en_GB&word1=%22potato+puffs%22&word2=%22tator+tots%22) words.

Tator tots beats potato puffs (which I've never heard of) 2 to 1.

Celyn
04-30-2006, 01:42 PM
Taretots - huyh! Puff - Huh! A little Googling shows that they looks like potato croquettes to me. See? I can fight too. :)


(I don't know if "Tatertots" per se are sold in Britain - I've never seen them but I'm not the most observant creature on the planet.

As for invention, I might guess that someone once had a shitload of potato/mashed potato to use up and after day two of this inexplicable potato glut, hit on a way to make them a little bit different, so as to avoid whin y family saying" ooh no, not this for dinner AGAIN".

Chronos
04-30-2006, 02:11 PM
bobkitty, the furthest south I've ever lived was Philadelphia, and in all of my years in Cleveland, Philly, and Montana, I've never heard those things called "potato puffs" (which I agree sounds like it should involve a pastry bag). I've occasionally seen them referred to as "potato gems", when they weren't the trademarked Ore-Ida brand, but even then, much like "Kleenex" or "Jell-o", the common name is "tater tots".

Rick
04-30-2006, 02:46 PM
From the Wiki linkTater Tots never exceed the size of a typical C battery. Size of a C battery? That's no tater tot, that's a tater toddler, or a tater child. :eek:

bobkitty
04-30-2006, 03:11 PM
::sticking fingers in ears::

I CAN'T HEAR YOU. LA LA LA LA.

They were listed as potato puffs on every single one of my school lunch menus, from preschool to college, and I refuse, REFUSE I TELLS YA, to think of them otherwise.*

But yes, samclem, that picture does not show the true yummy goodness that is smushed together potato bits. I was a bit puzzled by it until I read the caption.



* there must be another bostonian out there who can back me up. please?

samclem
04-30-2006, 03:19 PM
[QUOTE=bobkitty][yankee living in the south pet peeve]

POTATO PUFFS. They are freakin' called POTATO PUFFS. "TATER" IS NOT A WORD. AND DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT.

[/ylitspp]

And, now, having demolished Ore-Ida's personal version of the truth, I'll SUPPORT bobkitty's assertion.

They WERE first called POTATO PUFFS. Libby and others produced them first. I can supply newspaper ads as proof. Not that you can access them, but I"ve seen ads/pictures that are what was later called "Tater Tots."

They were first "Potato Puffs."

bobkitty
04-30-2006, 03:31 PM
And, now, having demolished Ore-Ida's personal version of the truth, I'll SUPPORT bobkitty's assertion.

I love you. Gods, I love you. ::sniffle:: Thank you so much.

WhyNot
04-30-2006, 03:33 PM
[completely irrelevent hijack to make this thread all about ME!]

Tater Tots were the very first food that I realized I could buy myself as a grownup that my mother refused to buy when I was a kid. I loved them in the occasional school lunch, and vaguely knew they were for sale in the frozen section, but Mom never bought them. My first grocery shopping trip after I had my own place found me standing stock-still in the frozen food section, stunned with the realization that I could buy my own tater tots and cook them in my own kitchen WHENEVER I WANT THEM!

...and that, Timmy, is how independence is formed. From small bits of potato and fat.

[/cihtmttaaM]

Seven
04-30-2006, 03:37 PM
Off-topical hijack:

There is a little pub that opened near my place which features the humble tater tot all over it's menu. Fries or tater tots with your burger, fried fish, etc.

They also feature a thing they call "Tot-chos". Picture Nachos, but replace the chips with tots. Oddly yummy.

Almost every plate served in this place has tater tots on them. Whatever they're called, people can't get enough of them.

bobkitty
04-30-2006, 03:39 PM
Off-topical hijack:

There is a little pub that opened near my place which features the humble tater tot all over it's menu. Fries or tater tots with your burger, fried fish, etc.

There's a place somewhere near Atlanta that does the same thing. The Highlander, I think? I've never been, but I hear the nacho-type puffs are good.

astro
04-30-2006, 03:46 PM
Hotdish? What the... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotdish)

Zebra
04-30-2006, 03:52 PM
::sticking fingers in ears::

I CAN'T HEAR YOU. LA LA LA LA.

They were listed as potato puffs on every single one of my school lunch menus, from preschool to college, and I refuse, REFUSE I TELLS YA, to think of them otherwise.*

But yes, samclem, that picture does not show the true yummy goodness that is smushed together potato bits. I was a bit puzzled by it until I read the caption.



* there must be another bostonian out there who can back me up. please?


Your school was too cheap to buy real tater tots and instead got some off-brand product.


That's like saying that it's not Coke but Shasta.

Guinastasia
04-30-2006, 04:30 PM
Mmmmm...I love tater tots. Ore-Ida also has a sort of mini, flat tater-tot called "Crispy Crowns." Yummy.

But I never liked them in the school cafeteria. My school NEVER fully cooked tater tots OR french fries, so they were always limp and soggy. Dammit.

Nars Glinley
04-30-2006, 04:53 PM
There's a place somewhere near Atlanta that does the same thing. The Highlander, I think? I've never been, but I hear the nacho-type puffs are good.
Nothing beats Sonic's Extreme Tater Tots (not available in all areas). Tator tots smothered in chili, cheddar cheese, onions, ranch dressing and jalapenos. ::drooling smilie::

flex727
04-30-2006, 07:15 PM
Mmmmm...I love tater tots. Ore-Ida also has a sort of mini, flat tater-tot called "Crispy Crowns." Yummy.

But I never liked them in the school cafeteria. My school NEVER fully cooked tater tots OR french fries, so they were always limp and soggy. Dammit.
My rule of thumb is to double the baking time. Crispy Tater Tots = yummy, limp,soggy Tater Tots = yucky. :D