2018-11-30 / Commentary

The Tater Tot Resurgence

It’s not a criticism; It’s an observation

The Social Grill is probably our favorite local eating and drinking place, all things considered. It is very close, and I’m pretty sure my ancient Highlander could find its way home from there were it required to, and there’s no specific self driving technology in that automobile.

I noticed, maybe the first time I ate there, everything about the place: food, drinks, people responsible for your experience, was just a little bit better than you expected. A minor distinction but a distinction just the same.

During a recent visit, I ordered the “make your own” cheeseburger. I asked for beef, obviously, it is a burger after all, then added bleu cheese and bacon to the regular fixings. As a side, I took a chance and ordered Tater Tots.

We all remember Tater Tots from our childhood, or at least from our children’s childhood. They’re making a comeback. Mr. Friendly’s, the place Suzy and I consider to be the best local restaurant, offers Tater Tots without explanation, and has for some time.

A buddy of mine named Phil, who is to Mr. Friendly’s what Norm was to Cheers, introduced me to Mr. Friendly’s Tater Tots one day at lunch. I’d long ago decided those things were for kids and mine were in their 40s. Then I ate a few and remembered why we remembered them so fondly.

Another local favorite, Lucky’s, also offers Tater Tots, so I’ve gotten into the habit of eating them regularly. I had harassed our favorite server at Social Grill for a couple of months over Tater Tots so I impulsively ordered them that day with my burger.

Sandra said nothing and my burger soon appeared with Tater Tots as a side. I was ecstatic, mostly because I had badgered her into getting something on the menu just for me. A few days later I found out that wasn’t a true statement. The tots I was served had been leftover from some special and just happened to be in the kitchen. So much for being special.

Even so, Tater Tots are being rediscovered, much like pork belly, bone marrow, greens, and artisan, free range cornbread. I recently saw some dude on the Cooking Channel making Tater Tots from scratch.

The following week a TV show explained how Tater Tots are made. Two dudes were looking to use all the potato, even the scraps left over after trimming. So Tater Tots are based on recycling. Last weekend in Savannah, we saw Tater Tot nachos on a restaurant menu.

Not sure what all this gushing about a childhood food item packed with evil carbs has to do with anything, but I guess this is an example of how things become popular in a capitalist dominated, social media driven society.

I’m sure there are worse things being rediscovered to be excited about. Hanson was on a music show recently. Regardless of what my buddy Nick says, vinyl record resurgence doesn’t make any sense. PBR and Velveeta should have died a swift death when first introduced in the 60s, and they’re popular again. There’s no explaining taste anymore.

Sometimes I think many of us are no longer trying to be cool.

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