Making homemade tots is hardly rocket science, so I can’t figure out how so many of the recipes online get it so badly wrong. Seriously, mashed potatoes? The traditional method, apparently, is to lightly steam the taters, grate them, season, press the gratings into a mold, chill, and let the potato starch do the binding. I don’t have that much patience, nor do I possess a suitable mold, so I add a bit of all-purpose flour, about a half tablespoon to a tablespoon per potato, and in lieu of a tot mold, I press them into shape by hand, using a little force to squeeze out any excess wetness. Works just fine. Fry ’em up until they’re golden—if you don’t have a deep fryer, oil in a cast-iron skillet will do the job nicely—and then bake ’em on a baking sheet until they’re crispy and suitably tot-like.

I was going to write about the history of the tot, but John Kessler at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has already written in some detail about the Tater Tot’s secret origin and the resurgent interest in tots among hipsters and foodies. And now that I’ve eaten a heaping plateful of childhood nostalgia, I’m feeling a bit like nap time is overdue…


8 Responses to “Tots”

  1. Damn, you’re fast! Those look delicious.

  2. Yum! Thanks for the how-to!

  3. I LOVE that you made tots! I was toying with the idea of a post about the etymology of the word “tot” as a verb (the OED has 4 listings, but has yet to get around to including the sense: “I’m tottin’ tonight!”), but was ultimately too lazy. BUT. I am now inspired to make my very own tots very soon!

  4. hoveringdog Says:

    Desdemona, write about the word tot!!! It deserves a chapter in the history of food nomenclature.

  5. I came to see the tots, but couldn’t help but look around a bit more. Your blog is lovely both visually and culinarily

  6. my ladyfriend and i eat a lottatots. i’m on this kick of pickling and granola-ing and dehydrating and kombucha-ing and lots of other foodings, and this… this might be the next level i take. making my own tots, freezing them and baking them later. holy crap. i’m eager to try this. a bountiful tot medley. sweet potato, purple potato, rutabaga, carrot even. good lord, i love tots. and i love your blog! i’m so glad i found it.

  7. Hmmmm, maybe I should change my thesis topic to the etymology of “tot.” Who knows, it might reinvigorate my enthusiasm for research!

  8. color me impressed. TOTS!!!


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