And I'm pretty sure her reaction would have been exactly the same if her first bite would have instead been a Trader Joe's Sweet Potato Tot, because, well, that was pretty much ours when we had them a few nights ago. Minus the spit up, of course.
It's not the taste that doesn't work. They're pretty legitimate sweet potato mini-nuggets. No real problem there. It's more the texture. You know how a tater tot is supposed to be - crispy on the outside, kinda soft/kinda firm in the middle, and a little greasy too? Indeed, TJ's makes some freakin' excellent ones that are perfect right from the oven. These...are more like baked mush. Anything purporting to be a tater tot cannot simply be a dollop of potato mush, with the outside being slightly less mushy mush. Doesn't work. And that was even after baking them for a little beyond the 35-40 minutes the instructions give for a crunchy tater barrel. I think to get anything resembling a crispiness or a crunchiness we would have had to flat-out blacken these suckers.
That's part of the sweet potato curse. Kinda like salty/chocolate combos, or stuff made with whole grain, or (for my taste) wheat beers, there's a balance that has to be struck. They can be absolutely great, but if not done well, it doesn't work. A little unlike those examples, sweet potatoes almost always taste great, but texturally they either work very well (like these frites) or not at all (look at these gnocchi! Ugh). I'm not sure what really separates them from their regular cousins in that regard - I guess it's something that has to do with the additional natural sugars softening them up during preparation.
Anyways, out of our veggie corn dog and tater tot dinner, these were the absolute disappointment. "They're basically like a baked version of the gnocchi," Sandy said. Oooh, that's a deep insult. She gave them a two, based solely on the texture. I'll be a little more generous than I might otherwise and say a three.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Sweet Potato Tots: 5 out of 10 Golden Spoons
*She's the most interested whenever we drink a beer. I guess she likes what's in her bottle so much she wonders what's in ours. I don't know how to feel about this.
**We have so many nicknames for her. "Little Face" is one that Sandy came up with. I wish I had veto rights over nicknames, like what we granted each other when discussing actual names, 'cause man, I hate that one.