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Dec 21, 2010 07:56 AM

Home Fries

This has been a staple for breakfast served with eggs and toast in the Northeast US for eons. (Not to be confused with hash browns) I recall traveling down South years ago and only being able to get grits, they had never even heard of home fries. Today, a friend tells me, home fries are available everywhere, even down South.

Somehow, I find this difficult to fathom, being that Southerners are just so so attached to their grits. Any input on home fries and their ubiquity?

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  1. In my experience, admittedly limited, I've seen homefries available in more corporate, chain-y restaurants when traveling the southland. In the smalltown restaurants I've tended to search out, it was all about the grits; not even a choice. Which was perfectly ok with me, especially with extra butter and lots of salt and pepper.

    1. What, exactly, is the diff between homefries and hashbrowns? The latter, if not the former, have been a staple in WesTex as long as I can remember.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Perilagu Khan

        To my understanding, which involves a great deal of personal preference, homefries are "chunked" potatoes, and hash(ed) browns are shredded, which is just how I like 'em. All the better to catch the egg yolk with.

        1. re: mamachef

          Totally different! Hash browns look like they went through a meat grinder and have a very soft consistency. Home fries are cut in chunks, par boiled, and then pan fried in butter, sometimes with onions and/or peppers. Home fries are crispy on the outside and semi soft on the inside.

          I've seen hash browns down South, but I wanted to know if home fries are now available with eggs at breakfast places there.

          1. re: menton1

            We never used a parboiled potato when I was growing up and neither do I. They weren't for breakfaswt, but rathr a side dish in the wintertime. And at our house an essential ingredient was and is chopped or sliced onions cooked with the potatoes so the oniony flavor gets distributed. Could make a meal of 'em....

            1. re: lemons

              That is also how I cook homefries when I make them. Not parboiled, and must have lots of butter, onion and also fresh garlic. Although they are only eaten with breakfast and rarely at any other time unless you go to a place that serves all day breakfast and even then sometimes they switch to actual french fries after a certain time.

          2. re: mamachef

            Right. In my neck o' the woods, or in lieu thereof, cotton fields, we call homefries "fried taters," but never have them for breakfast. Instead, they make a marvelous accompaniment to a pot of pinto beans and a cast-iron skillet of cornbread. Strickly supper fare.

          3. re: Perilagu Khan

            To me "home fries" are thick-sliced rounds, not chunks, of potatoes that are fried in oil. Growing up, they were mainly a side with dinner and made out of left over baked potatoes -- not that you would not make them from uncooked potatoes but it takes longer and we just didn't. I still use up baked potatoes that way, generally as a side with dinner, but sometimes to accompany breakfast on weekends. And, if I'm in the mood and there aren't any leftover bakers, I'll make them with fresh, uncooked potatoes. (My mother always removed the skins, but I never do.)

            1. re: masha

              Ours were always made from leftover boiled potatoes, cooked with some onion in bacon grease, yum yum. I make mine from leftover roasted potatoes, cut down a bit in size to cook faster.

              There have always been places in Nashville and that general part of the world where home fries were on the menu. The Hermitage Cafe, a tiny (formerly 24-hour) joint across from where General Hospital used to be, has no grits on the menu at all, but they've always had home fries, and the local chain Sylvan Park restaurants have both.

          4. I am opposite the direction you are looking in.........I am south Ontario, Canada. Here I have only seen homefries in restaurants and we also make them at home on special occasions (due to diet, not any special reason). Have never seen grits or tried them. And as for hashbrowns.......only see those at McDonalds.

            16 Replies
            1. re: fryerlover

              Those are not! and never will be! true hash browns! those are nasty, stinky potato patties!

              1. re: mamachef

                I love it when you get your dudgeon up.

                1. re: mamachef

                  haha.......hey I was going off of your description of hashbrowns being shredded and that is all I could think of. Then I must say I have never had a hashbrown either. What you describe as a hashbrown sounds like a potato latke to me? Can you tell me the difference between a true hashbrown and a potato latke? I've had potato latkes and love them, but not sure if that is what you mean by hashbrown.

                  1. re: fryerlover

                    The potatoes for latkes are shredded far more finely than for hashbrowns, and are more integrated into a batter, composed of matzoh meal (or flour) and eggs. Hashbrowns are predominantly potatoes, with just a scant amount of binder to hold them together.

                    1. re: masha

                      Thanks for the explanation. So then I don't think I've had real hashbrowns. Now I'll be on the hunt for real hashbrowns.

                      1. re: fryerlover

                        hashbrowns don't come in some kind of cake form, they're just loose. That's the big difference to me. Also, not deep-fried like they are at the arches. That just isn't hash browns at all, it's shredded, fried, potato cake. But that's not nice for marketing purposes.

                        1. re: rockandroller1

                          I have a weakness (possibly fatal, if I don't watch it!) for those McDo potato things, and for Arby's version as well (do they still offer it?). No, it's NOT hash browns, nor are those rectangular patties that come frozen in a box, despite the label. But fry me a potato in any format whatsoever and I will eat it, and thank you very much!

                  2. re: mamachef

                    Oh, I just had hash browns that were just like that--deep fried, little circular bite sized patties. Those are odd shaped tator tots, not hash browns!

                    1. re: chowser

                      We call those little disk shaped hash browns 'scoobie snacks'....

                    2. re: mamachef

                      oooh mamachef. i kinda like them. but NOT to the exclusion of REAL hashbrowns. and i have to say if hashbrowns are done right - fluffy buttery mound of crispy potato - and you can tell by looking at them in a restaurant at others' tables - i will order them over home fries.

                      and i'm agreeing with Will Owen - fried potatoes of any kind are just never bad! it's potato! it's fried! what could be bad about that?

                      1. re: mariacarmen

                        Sprinkle fried spuds on the Middle East and watch peace reign.

                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                            Just add bacon, stir and watch peace bloom.


                            1. re: JuniorBalloon

                              Not sure you want to add bacon in a kosher\muslim territory?

                      2. I think regional food is becoming less regional in general. Possibly due to the preponderance of food infotainment shows (foodfotainment?). In Texas, it's common to see both home fries and grits on the menu.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Christnp

                          I think if you read this thread it's quite the opposite. We all "know" hash browns and home fries; yet they are all different.

                          To me, home fries are diced potatoes, cooked with onions, in lots of butter--crusty on the outside, mushy on the inside. And they are served with every diner dish known to man. But apparently, this is not universal in the US.

                          Grits? I have traveled the south and have never seen them. Only Southern recollection is biscuits and gravy .But again, a limited sample.

                        2. C'mon folks, lets focus on taters
                          and not be just denigrators of grits.

                          Hashbrowns and latkes and softly fried rostis
                          are taters that have been already shredded.

                          "Home Fries" are hunks, or cubes, or sliced chunks
                          that are not shredded, but solid.

                          In my family tradition we've always pre-nuked them
                          so they slice down real easily and fit in the foam of the pan.

                          Since pre-cooked, all that you've gotta do
                          is check that they're browned and good crispy.

                          The tradition of Home Fries came from those times
                          when spuds were baked up in twenty pound bundles.
                          (Admittedly, pre-nuclear days).

                          So: nuke 'em, then slice 'em
                          maybe cube 'em or dice 'em
                          Give them suckle of frying in well heated cast-iron

                          But never confuse them with the shreds of the hashbrowns
                          or harmony of hominy honed to perfection
                          in a bag of some goodly ground grits.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: FoodFuser

                            That's my understanding of the terms, hash browns are the shredded things, I have not seen them on menus very often.