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Ten Tasty and Tempting Recipes for Tator Tot Tuesday

Tator tots were always one of my favorite choices for lunch at school! The crispy outside and delicious inside! Now people use them in amazing recipes, some I will share today!

Before we look at the magnificent meals from some of my favorite bloggers, let's learn the history of the tator tot! Did you know it was invented by Latter-Day Saint, F. Nephi Grigg, or “Neef” as he liked to be called, from Idaho? 

 "After World War II, a frozen-food craze swept the US: Americans bought 800 million pounds of frozen food between 1945 and 1946—and Neef wanted in on the business. So he and his brother Golden and several other men, including Ross Erin Butler who would become the corporate secretary, mortgaged their farms so they could afford a down payment on a flash-freezing plant in Northeastern Oregon. They paid $500,000 for it (over $4.5 million today) and named their new company Ore-Ida because Neef and Butler had a passion for Boy Scouts and had been part of the Ore-Ida Scout Council. It was a bold move, but Neef was one who never seemed to lack in confidence. 

By 1951, Ore-Ida was the largest supplier of frozen sweet corn in the US, but Neef knew the real money was in French fries. As French fry production picked up, however, Neef was frustrated by all the scraps that were discarded after the potatoes had been cut down into fries. Those scraps were sold for a pittance and fed to cattle, but Neef was determined to find a way to feed them to people. So he decided to boil ’em, mash ’em, and stick ’em in a … totally new kind of frozen food.

The potato scraps were mashed together, seasoned, and baked, and a creative member of Ore-Ida’s marketing team came up with an all-too-cute and perfect name for the new product: Tater Tots.

Neef came up with quite the plan to launch Tater Tots into stardom. He and Golden traveled all the way to the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami. The brand-new hotel was on Millionaire’s Row right next to the sparkling white sands of Miami Beach. The Fontainebleau was posh, luxurious, and, most importantly, home to the 1954 National Potato Convention. According to Eater.com, Nephi brought 15 pounds of Tater Tots and somehow convinced the chef at the hotel to cook them up and serve them in small saucers as samples to the convention attendees. “These were all gobbled up faster than a dead cat could wag its tail,” Neef would later write.

The little potato snack became available in grocery stores that same year, but according to one record, they were very inexpensive at first and did not sell well because of their low price point. Buyers didn’t understand the value or see a use for such a cheap, relatively unknown product. But once the price was raised, people began buying them—and they didn’t stop. Thanks to Tater Tots, Ore-Ida gained 25 percent of the frozen potato market in the 1950s. A second plant was opened in 1961, and Grigg sold the company to H.J. Heinz Company in 1965 for $30 million, which would be about $411 million today."

Now...on to the recipes! There is a gluten-free option and a vegan option on this list!

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