|A perfectly balanced midwestern meal: meat, potatoes, vegetable & bread.|
Last month Jason Kottke posted his family’s recipe for tator tot hotdish. Having also grown up in rural Wisconsin I’m very familiar with hotdish culture and with tator tot hotdish in particular. I can remember eating this as a kid frequently. It was fun.. the tator tots go IN the casserole! whoo! Plus the rhyming makes it fun to say when you’re 7 years old. Macaroni casserole? No! I want tator tot hotdish!
The thing that struck me about Jason’s recipe is that that tator tots were on the bottom.. and when my family made it we topped it off with tator tots. I wrote Jason to tell him that the tator tot’s place is always on the top and he told me he thought tator tots on the top were sacrilegious. So.. I tried to let it go. . .but I just couldn’t get it out of my mind! Tator tots.. on the bottom?!? What kind of a nut puts the tator tots on the bottom!?!? And cheddar cheese? Puh-lease!
Well, boys & girls, I decided to give it a go.. tator tots on the bottom.. and I will admit that the Kottke family recipe is very good.. but I still prefer my tator tots on the top where they get nice and toasty, but remain moist from the casserole below.
The Bowden Family recipe is basically the same as the Kottke Family recipe… ground beef, onion, cream soups, milk, french-cut beans (or I’ve used peas or mixed vegetables before). The difference is in assembly. Pour the meat/vegetable mixture on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and then top with tator tots (in rows over the meat/vegetable mixture). And NO CHEESE (even though I know that every good hotdish has cheese, especially in The Dairy State).
Jason Kottke, stop drowning the poor little tator tots! I challenge you to put the tator tots on the top and see if you don’t like it better!!!