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viewpoint

I love my taters

| Wednesday, September 17, 2014

There are many things I missed about Notre Dame this summer: friends, dorm life and of course the golden … crispiness of dining hall tater tots.

Staying true to my Irish heritage, potatoes make up a substantial part of my diet. In “Forrest Gump,” Bubba calls shrimp “the fruit of the sea.” Similarly, potatoes are the fruit – vegetable? starch? – of the land. Inspired by Bubba, “You can bake ’em, mash ’em, roast ’em, fry ’em. Dey’s, uh, french fries, tater tots, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, gnocchi, hash browns, home fries, potato triangles, potato pancakes, potato salad, potato chips, roasted potatoes. That – that’s about it.” (Ignoring sweet potatoes – the potato’s gross, spray-tanned sister).

Potatoes have brought me fame and fortune. Well, at least fame. The summer after my junior year in high school, I went to Seacamp, a marine biology research camp in the Florida Keys, thanks to a scholarship I won from Jimmy Buffett. The days we had tater tots were obviously the best days, and one time, in spontaneous celebration of the impending greasy glory, I yelled out, “Everybody – tots, tots, tots, tots, tots, tots,” to the tune of the LMFAO song, “Shots.” This portrayal of potato passion was appreciated by all and soon became a “camp song,” which is a pretty big deal. What can I say — potatoes bring out the best in me.

I almost always decide my meals at restaurants based on whether they are served with fries. For this reason, I never ordered a salad at a restaurant until last year. I blame this partially on the fact that my mom never had french fries in our house. I wasn’t necessarily asking for the whole deep-fried get-out, but a simple Ore-Ida bag in the freezer every once in a while would have been greatly appreciated. Because of this deprivation, anytime I entered a restaurant was like being thrust into a potato-y dream.

This is a prime example of the Gusher theory: When deprived of a necessary substance, one will consume copious amounts of the substance when unrestricted. Example: my mom’s restraint on our Gusher consumption (because they would “rot our teeth”) caused me to drive to Kroger’s incessantly when I got my license. I always had at least five boxes of Gushers on hand at any time.

Before I left for college, the true test of the Gusher theory, I told my mom I would probably eat a potato product at every meal. This was a goal I had a much easier time accomplishing than learning MatLab for engineering. I followed through, sending her pictures of some of my starch-heavy feasts in jest.

Unfortunately, I know that eating potatoes this frequently will not be possible forever. My access to premade potato products, as well as my metabolism, is set to decrease when I leave college. Accordingly, I will continue to consume potatoes to my fill for now: “Fry” and stop me.

Contact Erin McAuliffe at emcaulif@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Erin McAuliffe

I'm Scene's editor and a senior Marketing & Journalism student. To quote the exquisite Sadie Dupuis, "I'm not bossy — I'm the boss."

Contact Erin
  • Michael

    This is quite possibly the most foolish article that I have ever seen in the Observer. Ever. I’ve never been moved to comment before but I had to for this.

    You wrote about tater tots.

    You go to one of the most prestigious schools in the nation, with a vibrant campus life. You live in a country with exciting sports competitions, contentious political life, and myriad cultural happenings. You live in a world that is currently experiencing the turbulence of war, the uncertainty of sectarian strife, and even some great humanitarian success stories.

    You wrote about tater tots.

    Can we excuse you for at least writing about tater tots with style? With a witty humor or a unique point of view? No. We cannot do that. Because your piece had none of those things. What it did have were flat attempts to be cute (“Fry”?) and terribly ill-conceived cultural references. Potatoes cannot be the fruit of the land. You see, fruit grows on land already. But thank you for demeaning a great movie quote through reckless and nonsensical misapplication.

    The Observer has seen a lot of bad articles in its day. Most recently there was the petty diatribe against Derek Jeter, that redefined bad taste and bad sportsmanship. But you, Erin, may well have taken this year’s prize for shoddy journalism.

    You wrote about tater tots.

    Think on your sins.

    • RELAX a little

      you must be fun at parties