These golden little nuggets of deep-fried goodness known as Tater Tots are one of those foods that just about everybody loves. But did you know that, like Corn Flakes, this household name is actually a registered trademark? Yes, there’s only one true Tater Tot, produced by Ore-Ida, and we bet that’s not the only thing you didn’t know about this humble snack.
You can argue that the Tater Tot is a perfect food: bite-size, salty, crispy, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, greasy but not overly oily, and a great vessel for just about any topping. Its abundant nooks and crannies allow for nearly limitless surface area (which translated into more crunch) and it boasts a pillowy interior that French fries can only hope to emulate.
Back in 1953, Ore-Ida founders, brothers Golden and F. Nephi Grigg (their real names!) found themselves with an excess of potato scraps left over after the fry-making process, and were sick of selling them off for a pittance as animal feed. They chopped them up, added in some corn flour and other seasonings, sent the mixture through an extruder and into the deep fryer, and a legend was born.
Tater Tots taste great on their own, but a part of their beauty is how versatile they are. You can dress them up like nachos, douse them in pulled pork or chili, or even mix them up with bacon and eggs for a hearty breakfast scramble (yep, we went there). Often imitated, never truly duplicated, Tater Tots are here to stay, and thank goodness for that. Read on for 10 things you probably didn’t know about Tater Tots.
Americans Eat 70 Million Pounds Per Year
That’s a whole lot of pounds of Tots, more than the entire populations of California and Texas combined!
Chefs Like Daniel Boulud and Grant Achatz are Making Their Own
At his restaurant Bar Boulud, Daniel Boulud serves homemade tots with pork and caramelized onion, and at Grant Achatz’s cocktail bar The Aviary, the chef has served house-made tots that kick the exterior crunchiness, interior creaminess, and potato flavor up to 11.