“Hometown Cooking”: Layering Values, Mass-Produced, and Garden-Raised Foods in Tater Tot Hot Dish in Southwest Minnesota

Abstract: Hot dishes, or casseroles, are popularly conceptualized as meals comprised merely of mass-produced ingredients. Through a close reading of Tater Tot Hot Dish, this article challenges this perception by examining how a single meal preparer, the author’s mother, incorporates locally grown ingredients, reflecting her idea of “hometown cooking.” This essay suggests how this ubiquitous meal in Southwest Minnesota represents not only individual and family values, but also those of community as individuals make critical food-related choices.

Download the PDF of the full article here:

Schmidt, Jared L. 2020. “‘Hometown Cooking’: Layering Values, Mass-Produced, and Garden Raised Foods in Tater Tot Hot Dish in Southwest Minnesota.” Folklore Forum 44 (1): 19–43.


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