give me some of your tots! – foods from napoleon dynamite

as always, i am very late in the movie game – i just watched napoleon dynamite for the first time. needless to say, i loved the whole thing, and aside from his slow-motion strut down the street in a 1970s milk chocolate brown suit from goodwill, corsage for his date in hand, the best part of napoleon dynamite was, ahem, the opening credits.

with a few library books, ninja stars, and a chapstick thrown in, it was nice to be reminded of the foods that were a part of my distant past. how pure it all was, when it wasn’t a panini di mozzarella, but simply a grilled cheese sandwich, and mashed potatoes made from the big brown russets were just fine with gravy instead of having to be baby yukon golds smashed with roasted garlic and herbs. so in honor of napoleon, whose fanciest dinner is casserole that’s meant for tina the llama, here they are in order of appearance.

tater tots – i don’t think ive ever seen these anywhere except in a school cafeteria, and mcdonald’s, because if you think about it, those hashbrowns are just one giant, flat tater tot. i remember watching the food network’s unwrapped and finding out that tater tots are made from the french fries that didn’t quite make the cut at the factory. french fries’ sloppy seconds? hey, ain’t nothing wrong with that.

burrito and mexican rice – this is l.a. i know burritos, but nothing will ever beat zona rosa on telegraph in berkeley. well, maybe manuel’s burritos, just a few blocks further down telegrpah, where i don’t remember a single person ever finishing an entire burrito. they really are that big.

hardboiled eggs – i eat an average of about three hard boiled eggs a week. when i’m good i leave a few of the yolks behind and add the whites to a salad. when i’m not so good, i pop deviled eggs like cracker jacks. egg yolks, mayonnaise, a touch of mustard, and forget the chopped pickles – those are vegetables, right? why waste the space?

steak – i don’t eat much steak these days, primarily because i don’t have a proper grill to make it at home. steak is usually reserved for going out. there have been quite a few: fleming’s was good, mastro’s better, but my very best experience was at boa (when it was still balboa). jess raves about ruth’s chris, sizzling in butter, and i most certainly take our little carnivore’s word for it for now. we had steak when we were little, but it doesn’t count if you eat it with kimchee, does it?

nachos – nachos are perhaps one of my a.t.f. foods. i look forward to the superbowl every year just so i can eat an entire platter of nachos. in fact, i love going to sporting events because i am somehow strangely attracted to those stale round yellow corn tortilla chips with melted vinyl “cheese” and very well preserved plastic jalapenos. del taco, taco bell, baja fresh, la salsa, rubio’s, wahoo’s…i’ve tried all the regular fast food chains’ nachos. they’re all dressed up with beans, meat, guacamole, sour cream, but when it all comes down to it, i need nothing more than chips deep-fried twice in lard and cheese half-melted from the heat of the frying oil. it’s only $1.99 at benito’s, which is about all i have left at 4 a.m. sunday morning.

corn dog – my mom never made corndogs for us when we were little, and i don’t blame her. it seems a little unnatural – a deep-fried popsicle made of a hotdog? sometime last year, though, i went on a carnival food kick (funnel cakes!), and discovered the $0.79 corn dogs from ralph’s. i could roll into ralph’s at 11:00 pm after the work day, and not feel too bad eating dinner so late, because they’re actually corn bird dogs from foster farms. oh yes, much healthier. hot dog on a stick kind of scares me though. i think it’s those outfits, and the fact that they also have cheese sticks.

peanut butter sandwich and a banana – i’ve never been a fan of peanut butter, and could never get into peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. i remember seeing jars of peanut butter already swirled with jelly at the market and was kind of grossed out. but elvis sure had the right idea flying all the way to colorado for a his peanut butter and banana sandwiches fried up like french toast. i’d probably eat a pb and j if it were fried, too.

lemonheads – never got into lemonheads. hard candy *eh* but i will give them something for being sour. but not that sour.

burger and fries – i don’t even know where to begin with burgers and fries. all i can say is “yessssss.”

i love those opening credits. alright, so maybe napoleon’s student body president election dance routine was pretty good, too. vote for pedro! damn i feel like going to benito’s right now.

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