Dan Whalen on the 8th Day Talking about America’s Love with Tater Tots!

Filed under: The 8th Day |
Dan Whalen - TOTS Book from Author of the Site, The Food In My Beard - The Tater Tot Story

Dan Whalen – TOTS Book from Author of the Site, The Food In My Beard – The Tater Tot Story

Marquette, MichiganMay 4, 2018 – Dan Whalen joined Todd Pazz on the 8th Day Radio Show.  Whalen, author of TOTS! 50 Tot-ally Awesome Recipes from Totchos to Sweet Po-tot-o Pie,  reveals how he went from being computer tech guy to an author of the creative food blog TheFoodInMyBeard.com with over 1000 published recipes as well as two published cookbooks with a third one coming out September 4th of 2018 (The Comfort Food Mash-up Cookbook).

Dan Whalen’s work has been featured in Saveur, Bon Appétit, Serious Eats, Fine Cooking, Boston.com, MSNBC, and Huffington Post, among others. He lives in Boston, MA.

Tots! 50 Tot-Ally Awesome Recipes from Totchos to Sweet Po-Tot-O Pie by Dan Whalen

Tots! 50 Tot-Ally Awesome Recipes from Totchos to Sweet Po-Tot-O Pie by Dan Whalen

“Americans love tots! In fact, they love them so much they consumed 3.5 billion last year. Restaurants across the country are dishing up all manner of tots, with some going so far as to devote entire sections of their menus to these little balls of heavenly potato magic.”

“Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, it’s no surprise tots have been popular for so long. Now home cooks can take their tot obsession to the next level, with a cookbook devoted entirely to this classic American comfort food: TOTS! 50 Tot-ally Awesome Recipes from Totchos to Sweet Po-tot-o Pie (Workman Publishing; May 2018; $12.95 US) .” Dan Whalen’s most popular recipe video is of a Quesadilla Bun Burger.

Listen:

The book is “filled with 50 irresistible recipes for everything from tot-based snacks and appetizers to main dishes and desserts.”

Totcho Taco Boat by Dan Whalen

Totcho Taco Boat by Dan Whalen

His press release for the book says, “every recipe uses frozen commercial tots as its foundation, although Whalen also shows avid cooks how to make their own tots from scratch; he even includes veggie variations, subbing out the traditional potato for ingredients like cauliflower, sweet potatoes, or apples. There’s also an array of recipes for dipping sauces, such as Chipotle Mayo and Horseradish sauce, to class up store-bought tots without too much fuss. It’s TOT-ally awesome.”

Among the topics covered during the interview include the history of the tot,  the number of tots to Americans really eat each year, restaurants adoption of tots to their menus.  The comfort food of one’s childhood may be behind the Tot’s current popularity. The creative process and the growth of Dan’s blog are also discussed.

Some recipes in the book include:

  • Totchos (pg. 23)
  • Tots Poutine (pg. 27)
  • Bibimtot (pg. 97)
  • Tots Benedict (pg. 77)
  • Moules Tots (pg. 109)
  • Toaster Pizza Tots (pg. 44)
  • S’Mores Tots (pg. 150)
  • Totapeño Poppers (pg. 48)
  • Chicken Tot Pie (pg. 111)
  • Cheeseburger Tot Sliders (pg. 67)
  • Monster Tot Bacon Grilled Cheese (pg. 125)
  • Apple Tot Crisp (pg. 132)

An Unofficial and Incomplete Timeline of the Tater Tot

  • 1953 – Tater tots are born. Ore-Ida’s founders experiment with uses for the scraps created during french fry production, and hit on the winning combination of potato shavings, seasonings, and flour formed into savory morsels and deep-fried. Potato nugget nirvana attained!
  • 1956 – Ore-Ida’s Tater Tots go on sale to the public, but people are not interested in the new product. Marketing professionals credit this to the fact that the tots are priced very low, owing to their scrap-heap origins.
  • 1957 – New packaging and pricing are introduced, and the tots begin their climb to fame.
  • 1980s – A Cincinnati chili parlor offers topped tots on the menu—could this be a precursor to the topped-tot craze that follows decades later?
  • 2004 – Awkward screen teen Napoleon Dynamite asks the question that’s on everyone’s mind “You gonna eat your tots?”
  • 2009 – February 2 is designated National Tater Tot Day.
  • 2010 – A proposed ban on potatoes in federal child nutrition programs spurs nationwide panic among schoolchildren, with one Washington State second-grader exclaiming, “That would be so not cool. I love Tater Tots.”
  • 2012 – Business Insider issues a “nostalgic trend alert” stating “tater tots are the hot new (old) thing.”
  • 2015 – Chef David Kinch of California’s Michelin-starred Manresa develops a recipe for homemade tots that are slow-cooked in duck fat and take 12 hours to make.
  • 2016 – At the traditional pardoning of the national Thanksgiving turkey, President Obama pardons two gobblers: Tater and Tot.
  • 2018 TOTS! is published, changing the course of humankind FOREVER! :-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

20 − 14 =