Whatchamacallit / ¿Que qué?

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

WHEN SAN GERALDO HAD THOSE delicious croquettes for lunch at Mesón Salvador (click here), they were served atop a bed of something that he and I of course had different names for.

A few weeks ago, SG told Cristina and Alfonso that “we call them shoe-string potatoes.” Only “we” do not. I grew up calling these crispy treats potato sticks. At least we both agreed they came in a can. For me, shoe-string potatoes are long and thin French fries (chips).

I did an online search and found tins labeled potato sticks and shoe-string potatoes — both names often on the same tin. What do you call them?

Just looking at the croquettes photos, I think we need to go back to Mesón Salvador for lunch.


CUANDO SAN GERALDO TENÍA ESAS deliciosas croquetas para almorzar en Mesón Salvador (haz clic aquí), las sirvieron encima de una cama de algo para lo que él y yo, por supuesto, teníamos diferentes nombres.

Hace unas semanas, les dijo a Cristina y Alfonso que “a estas papas las llamamos con ‘shoe-string potatoes’ [patatas de cordones de zapatos].” Solo “nosotros” no lo hacemos. Crecí llamándolos ‘potato sticks’ [palitos de patata]. Al menos ambos estuvimos de acuerdo en que venían en lata. Para mí, ‘shoe-string potatoes’ [patatas de cordones de zapatos] son papas fritas largas y delgadas.

Hice una búsqueda en línea y encontré latas etiquetadas como “potato sticks” y “shoe-string potatoes” — ambos nombres a menudo en la misma lata. ¿Cómo los llamas?

Solo mirando las fotos de las croquetas, creo que tenemos que volver a almorzar a Mesón Salvador.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

36 thoughts on “Whatchamacallit / ¿Que qué?”

  1. I’d just call them fries. Shoestring fries are consistently long and slender, never served with little broken ones! My Gramma used to make thick cut fries by hand at her hotel and I used to help crank them out of the wall-mounted chopper for her when I was a kid. The gizmo had different blade types that could be switched out, depending upon what was needed.

    Those chicken croquettes look delicious! Do they have cheese in them? My mouth is watering at the thought of mini Chicken Kievs, LOL!

    1. Tundra Bunny:
      What I call sticks are truly sticks. Completely crispy and crunchy. I would have loved that chopper of your grandmother’s. I love gadgets. The chicken croquettes do not have cheese. And I’ve never had cheese croquettes here. Chicken, fish, octopus, pork, and I’m sure others… No cheese.

      1. When I was a little girl, many moons ago now, there were just a handful of Canadian salty snack makers. It was either “Old Dutch” (still going today) or “Humpty Dumpty” that used to make small bags of matchstick potato chips called “Hickory Stix”. They tasted like smokey BBQ’ed gym socks to me, so I always opted for Old Dutch plain rippled or salt ‘n’ vinegar potato chips instead. Being in waxed paper bags that were easily torn open, we used to pour in extra vinegar…. good times, LOL!

      2. Tundra Bunny:
        I never had salt & vinegar potato chips until I was an adult. Haven’t developed a taste for them. And I’m not a huge fan of (OK, I don’t like them AT ALL) BBQ chips, especially ones that taste like smokey BBQ’ed gym socks!

    1. Bob:
      If you search them on the web (which I’m sure is something at the top of your list), you’d find images of cans labeled both. Interesting.

  2. Potayo, potahto (somebody had to say it), I called them both. Never had fresh ones, though, unless those things at McDonalds count. No, not fresh 🙂 Now that I think about it, they all came in cans and we called them skinny potato chips instead of fries. This is too heavy for me to dwell on this morning!

    1. Deedles:
      I don’t think I’ve ever had fresh potato sticks (pictured) myself. They’ve always come from a can. I’m sure Mesón Salvador doesn’t bother making those fresh either. Skinny potato chips. You and your sisters were adorable (I know for certain you still are).

      1. Scoot, adorable isn’t a word that comes to mind when describing my sisters and me. You’re adorable to think so, though. Dark humored comes to mind. Nuts when we’re all together, but adorable? Nope.

      2. Deedles:
        So, you’re NOT nuts when you’re apart? (I think you at least are adorable.)

  3. In my book, if they’re in a can, they’re potato sticks. If they’re fried, they’re French fries, regardless of thickness. I would never say “shoestring potatoes.”

    1. Steve:
      Well, at least we agree on potato sticks. Did you differentiate your French fries at all? Wedge potatoes, shoestrings, crinkle cut, curly fries, waffle fries?

    1. wickedhamster:
      After reading your comment, I was trying to figure out where Nebraska, Ohio was. Anyway, I would imagine Ohio would have had similar terms to South Dakota. Besides we called Ohio the midwest.

  4. They do look good. I love me a good croquet. And Whatchamacallit? That used to be my favorite Hershey’s candy bar. I wonder if they even still make that?

    1. Mistress Borghese:
      I came across Whatchamacallit (candy bars) when I was looking up a word for Whatchamacallit in Spanish. I gaveup on the Spanish and began reminiscing about the candy. It appears Hershey’s still make them, along with Thingamajig… and even Whozeewhatzit!

  5. If they are freshly fried and hot, I’d call them shoestring potatoes, but if they come out of a can or bag–like potato chips (aka crisps for UK folk) then potato sticks.

    1. Wilma:
      For me, potato sticks always came out of a can and WERE similar to potato chips in that they were completely crispy/crunchy.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      Whatever we call them, we both love them. They’re a popular “bedding” here.

    1. Carole:
      Maybe regional? That’s what I called them before we moved to Brooklyn, too. (And the cans even read Potato Sticks.)

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