Last year, Americans consumed 3.5 billion tater tots, those crispy-on-the-outside, potato-pillowy-on-the-inside fried nibbles of nostalgia. Although tots are rooted in the potato history of Idaho, they’ve found a foothold at restaurants across the South.
On the more casual end of the spud spectrum, the Nook restaurant in Atlanta tops its Bloody Mary with tots and serves seven varieties of “tot-chos” including a $40 “Macho” version with five pounds of nacho cheese-smothered tots. On the high end, the chef Sean Brock has served house-made tots dotted with paddlefish caviar at McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina.
A new book by food writer Dan Whalen, Tots! 50 Tot-ally Awesome Recipes from Totchos to Sweet Po-tot-o Pie shares dozens of the author’s techniques for fancying up frozen tots and even making your own from scratch. Perfect for a backyard party or as a conversation-starting cocktail bite, these bacon-wrapped tots get an extra dose of South-by-Southwestern flavor with a spicy mayonnaise dipping sauce.