Homemade tater tots expectation vs. reality

24 Apr

Lately I have been craving tater tots. Even when I lived in the U.S., tater tots were not something I ate — or even thought about — very often. They were a pleasant treat in the school cafeteria, or as an adult, at Bar Louie or similar establishment. It’s probably been over a year since I’ve eaten tater tots, and I haven’t felt like I’ve been missing out. But then a couple weeks ago tater tots worked their way into a conversation Stephen and I were having, and I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I searched mysupermarket.co.uk and was disappointed to find that tater tots are definitely an American thing, like proper dill pickles and Twizzlers. I temporarily forgot about tater tots, until this recipe came up in my food blog feed.

Homemade tater tots! And I just happened to have a bag of potatoes handy, which I seldom buy, but they were one of Aldi’s Super 6 deals of the week. It was fate!

The first step (after paraboiling) was to grate the potatoes. I do not have a box grater, so I thought I’d do it one better — I’d spiralize, then “rice” my potato “noodles” for a similar effect. I was even feeling cocky, thinking I could submit the idea to one of my favorite food blogs, Inspiralized.com.

spiralized tater tots
That step actually worked out well. I formed the mixture into little tots (with a little bit of a struggle), then waited for Stephen to come before frying them up.

homemade tater totsThis is probably where I went wrong. In an effort to be healthy, I didn’t want to full-on fry them, but baked tater tots are the worst, so I tried to fry them in a tiny bit of oil. They soaked up the oil and started to stick. Some parts burned, some parts wouldn’t cook, and some tots just plain turned into hashbrowns.

cook homemade tater totsA couple of them managed to stay fully formed, but most of them were mush.

homemade tater tots burnt

homade tater tots expectation

homemade tater tots failAs far as the taste goes, they were just meh. They were actually really good hashbrowns, but I think factoring in the amount of time and effort that went into making said hashbrowns made me like them less. When I asked Stephen what he thought, he asked why I couldn’t just buy tater tots on Amazon. Amazon does sell almost everything, but I don’t think Amazon.co.uk has cornered the frozen tater tot market yet.

Making homemade tater tots was definitely a learning experience, and this is what I learned:

Non-Americans: Visit an American-themed restaurant in your country or wait until you visit the US of A and get some real tots.

Americans: Go buy some tots, Ore-Ida knows what it’s doing. (And a little disodium hihydrogen pyrophosphate will not kill you just because you struggle to pronounce it.)


One Response to “Homemade tater tots expectation vs. reality”

  1. Milo April 26, 2015 at 4:17 am #

    I’m living overseas myself and had a craving for some tots. I read a couple recipes online for making them and thought it might not be as easy as they make it look to make them. Guess I’ll have to wait until the next time I’m back in the states

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