A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 18, 2009
Tater Tots

"Tater Tots” is a registered trademark by Ore-Ida for frozen nuggets of deep-fried potatoes. Ore-Ida claims that the product was developed in 1953 and sold to stores in 1954, but an Ore-Ida trademark shows a date of first use of December 1956. The first “Tater Tots” citation from NewspaperArchive is from only February 1958.

“Tater Tots” are named from “tater” ("potato") and “tots’ ("small"). Similar products under different names have been made both before and after “Tater Tots” appeared: “potato croquettes,” “potato puffs,” “potato nuggets,” etc.


Wikipedia: Tater Tots
Tater Tots, also known as “Tots”, a registered trademark for a commercial form of hash browns, is a side-dish made from deep-fried, grated potatoes. Tater Tots are widely recognized for their crispiness, cylindrical shape and small size.

Tater Tots are commonly found in the U.S. in cafeterias and school lunch-counters, as well as the supermarket frozen food aisle and some fast food restaurants. In Australia, they are known as “potato gems” or “potato pom-poms” (also used in New Zealand). In the UK, Ross Frozen Foods once produced “oven crunchies” which are no longer available. McCain Foods Limited calls their line of tater tots Tasti Taters. Cascadian Farm calls their line of tater tots Spud Puppies. Some Mexican-style fast-food restaurants in the Pacific Northwest offer seasoned tater tots: Taco Time and Señor Frog call them “Mexi-Fries”, while Taco Bell used to sell them as “Mexi-Nuggets”. In some areas of the Northeast USA, however, they are often called “jullienes” or “potato puffs,” while in the Bay Area they are also known as “tooter teets.”

Tater is slang for potato (origin: 1750–60; America; by aphesis, tato, and substitution of -er for final -o, tater); Tots may have been derived from their diminutive size, or because they are often served to children.

“Tater Tots” are featured in the motion picture Napoleon Dynamite, The Simpsons, and in the TV series South Park.

History
Tater Tots were first created and produced in 1953 by Ore-lda, now a subsidiary of H. J. Heinz Company, as a means of utilizing potato shreds remaining from french fry production. They first became available in stores in 1954. Today Americans consume approximately 70 million pounds of “Tots” per year.

The Burger King fast food franchise recently established a tater tot variant, dubbed “Cheesy tots”, as a regular item available on both its breakfast and lunch/dinner menus. Cheesy Tots are coin-shaped and, as implied by the name, contain melted cheese as well as potatoes. The Sonic Drive-in franchise also features “Tater Tots” as a regular menu item, with the option of cheese, chili, or both as toppings.

Ore-Ida Fun Zone - Fun Facts
Birth of a Tot.
Tater Tots® shredded potatoes were born in 1953 when Ore-Ida® founders were trying to figure out what to do with left over slivers of cut up potatoes. They came up with the novel idea of chopping up the potato slivers, adding flour and seasoning, then pushing the mash through holes and slicing off pieces of what came out on the other side. Tater Tots® were born.

Golden Anniversary.
The Grigg brothers, founders of Ore-Ida®, sold the first Tater Tots® shredded potatoes in 1954, thus making 2004 the 50th “Golden Brown” anniversary of The Tater Tots® Brand.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: ta·ter
Pronunciation: \ˈtā-tər\
Function: noun
Etymologyby shortening & alteration
Date: 1759

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: tot
Pronunciation: \ˈtät\
Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
Date: 1725
1 : a small child : toddler
2 : a small drink or allowance of liquor : shot

(Oxford English Dictionary)
croquette
[F., f. croquer to crackle under the teeth, to crunch.]
A ball or mass of rice, potato, or finely minced meat or fish, seasoned and fried crisp.
1706 PHILLIPS (ed. Kersey), In Cookery, Croquets are a certain Compound made of delicious Stuff’d Meat, some of the bigness of an Egg, and others of a Walnut.
1869 J. GRANT Secret Disp. 161 A dinner of shee (which is identically Scotch broth), croquettes, with purée of beet-root.
1883 Harper’s Mag. Apr. 654/1 Croquettes of canned salmon.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
potato puff n. a light potato fritter; (also) a potato crisp in the form of a puff (PUFF n. 2a).
1871 ‘M. HARLAND’ Common Sense in Househ. 213 *Potato Puff. Take two cupfuls of cold mashed potato, and stir into it two tablespoonfuls of melted butter, beating to a white cream before adding anything else.
1883 Girl’s Own Paper 14 July 654/1 Potato puffs .Chop..some cold meat or fish. Mash some potatoes and make them into a paste with an egg… Fold… Fry.
1937 Amer. Home Apr. 53/3 (advt.) You’ll use this dish every day. For baking and serving apples, stuffed tomatoes, potato puffs, chicken croquettes—dozens of foods.

6 February 1958, Ironwood (MI) Daily Globe, pg. 13, col. 1 ad:
ORE-IDA “TATER TOTS”
SHREDDED IDAHO POTATOES
FROZEN Economy Size 1-Lb. PKG. 29c
(National Food Stores—ed.)

15 January 1959, The Pointer, pg. 6, col. 3 ad:
Frozen ORE-IDA Tater Tot or
CRINKLE-CUT POTATOES 3 Full Pound Pkgs. 79c
(National Food Stores—ed.)

The Silver Spatula
Sunday, January 13, 2008
“Sonic" Tater Tots
I found this “healthful” version of tater tots.. who doesn’t love a good tater tot…

SONIC TATER TOTS:
olive oil spray
1 1/4 c bagged refrigerated pre-shredded potatoes
1 1/2 T egg substitute
1/2 t salt (...)

(Trademark)
Word Mark TATER TOTS
Goods and Services IC 029. US 046. G & S: FROZEN SHREDDED POTATOES. FIRST USE: 19561201. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19561201
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 72039264
Filing Date October 21, 1957
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Registration Number 0668762
Registration Date October 21, 1958
Owner (REGISTRANT) ORE-IDA POTATO PRODUCTS, INC. CORPORATION OREGON 789 N. E. 1ST ST. ONTARIO OREGON
(LAST LISTED OWNER) PROMARK BRANDS INC. CORPORATION IDAHO 2541 NORTH STOKESBERRY PLACE SUITE 100 MERIDIAN IDAHO 83646
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record SABRINA J. HUDSON
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECTION 8(10-YR) 20081203.
Renewal 3RD RENEWAL 20081203
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

(Trademark)
Word Mark TATER PUFFS
Goods and Services IC 029. US 046. G & S: frozen potatoes, sold in food service. FIRST USE: 19710305. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19710305
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 74318961
Filing Date October 1, 1992
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition October 19, 1993
Change In Registration CHANGE IN REGISTRATION HAS OCCURRED
Registration Number 1816054
Registration Date January 11, 1994
Owner (REGISTRANT) LAMB-WESTON, INC. CORPORATION DELAWARE 8701 West Gage Blvd. KENNEWICK WASHINGTON 99336
(LAST LISTED OWNER) CONAGRA FOODS LAMB WESTON, INC. CORPORATION DELAWARE 8701 WEST GAGE BLVD. KENNEWICK WASHINGTON 993361034
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record Peter J. Georges
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE “TATER” APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20030328.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20030328
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Wednesday, February 18, 2009 • Permalink