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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 [email protected]

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