All of the hoopla started early this morning with one simple tweet regarding the rankings of types of french fries. The conversation quickly transitioned into whether or not tater tots should be on that list (whether or not they’re french fries or not) and if so, where on the list they should sit. I’ve been back and forth all day, trying to decide if in fact tater tots should be on the list. First instinct told me “absolutely not”. But after putting some thought into it, I got in my own head, I dragged myself back in, and I confused myself. I was wrestling with this dilemma all day, but here’s where I stand.
In my opinion, tater tots are a breakfast thing. French fries are a lunch/dinner thing. Plenty of places offer tater tots as a side dish as well as fries, but that’s just it. You would order tater tots instead of fries, in replace of, no different than chips or a side salad or vegetables. Some menus provide tater tots or house-made chips as their form of french fries, meaning it’s their primary potato side dish. That doesn’t make them fries though. Are they fried potatoes? Yes. But so are home fries. And although they literally have the word “fries” in their name, that doesn’t qualify them as french fries. Home fries come as a side dish with eggs. You don’t eat french fries with eggs, you just don’t. Also, you eat home fries with a fork. French fries were intended to be eaten with your hands. You don’t pick up a single home fry and eat it; it doesn’t even sound correct saying “home fry” as in one single “home fry”. And chips are usually served room temp whereas fries have to be served warm/hot.
When I think of french fries, I picture them paired with a burger or chicken fingers. And I don’t envision a burger on a plate with tater tots. I’m sorry, I just don’t. As delicious as french fries are, they are a side dish. They should compliment the main dish and enhance the meal experience. But they should never be the star. Tater tots are the star of the meal every single time. Tots are more of an actual meal than fries. That’s how good they are. Coupling a side of tots with let’s say chicken fingers would be basically pitting them against each other, and that’s not fair.
So there you have it. Tater tots are not french fries. They’re just different. They share many commonalities, the most obvious being they’re both delicious and I want them now, and they both fall under the potato umbrella, but that’s the extent of it for me. I feel kind of silly for even typing this out. But there are some sick people out there who consider tater tots french fries.
And just for the record, a burger is a sandwich.