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Need some life advice?

Bite off more than you can chew then chew it.” It makes a lot of positive thinking and common sense. Who said those wise words? Mark Twain? Maybe Winston Churchill? FDR? A founding father?


F. Nephi Grigg

No, it was F. Nephi Grigg. I can imagine the silence and blank stares. Grigg and his brother Golden fled Oregon in 1954 to Miami, Florida. They quickly found the new and opulent Fountainebleu Hotel on Millionaire’s Row. The hotel was hosting the 1954 National Potato Convention. Nephi found the hotel kitchen and reportedly bribed the chef to cook up his new potato concoction and serve them at  dinner  to the potato growers.



Steer Inn’s tots

The new potato product was cooked up and laid out as appetizers on the tables. “These were gobbled up faster than a dead cat could wag it’s tail,” Grigg wrote 35 years later. The golden potatoes had been cut into small pieces and deep fried. They were a huge hit.

Those golden potatos are now known as Tator Tots.

Nephi presided over his Tot empire until he sold the brand to Heinz in 1965 for $30 million. Heinz merged with Kraft Foods in 2015 and Ore-Ida presides over the Tot empire today. Many thanks to Eater magazine for much of the background on Tots. Grigg passed away in 1995 in Nevada.

image0 (5)During the pandemic I’ve made a weekly effort to eat out a time or two a week. Today it was back to the historic Steer Inn. I had one of the best breaded tenderloins I’ve had in years. Real pork, 1/2 in. thick, juicy and a crispy breading. The tots were crispy and not greasy. An American classic lives.

And a couple pandemic observations:

  • Kroger announced over the weekend that all employees in all stores must where masks. A visit to Kroger on 10th and Linwood yesterday revealed most employees had a mask. I saw a couple with no mask. And maybe even more disturbing several young men working in produce with their masks pulled down around their chin or neck. Some people just don’t get it.
  • Residents stuck at home must be doing lots of planting, lawn care and home improvements projects. I’ve had reason over last few days to run in and out of the three major stores – Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards. All three were packed at different times of day – packed. Home Depot seemed to be the only one enforcing how many customers can be in store. Two nights ago there was quite a line outside. I know, I was there two …. not a hypocrite just exercising my older journalism skills.