Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Tater Tot Casserole Myth

Jim Bob Duggar and Jeremy Vuolo

If you happen to think that tater tot casserole is the Duggars' favorite meal, you're not the only one. "There was a period of time that we, anytime we invited anybody over, we had tater tot casserole," says Joseph. It caught on, and the super-sized family quickly became known for this unique dish, so much so that people started making it for them. As a result, they stopped cooking it for an extended period of time.

Now, it's time to introduce Jeremy Vuolo to tater tot casserole. While Jim Bob, Michelle, and some of the boys are visiting Jinger and Jeremy, they decide to have the guys prepare meals for the ladies. So the menfolk head to the store to pick up ingredients for both tater tot casserole and barbecued tuna fish (video below).

The recipe for tater tot casserole can be found on our Recipes page. To make his BBQ tuna, Jim Bob adds BBQ sauce (the Duggars recommend Kansas City Masterpiece) to canned tuna.


Photo/video courtesy TLC

92 comments:

  1. Sorry, but I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t use Sweet Baby Rays BBQ🤣🤣

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    1. Sweet Baby Ray's is good and I used to eat it until I saw that the first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup. I now avoid foods that use that unhealthy item.

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    2. Sweet Baby Ray's is good (but doesn't it have high fructose corn syrup, which is really bad for you?). I'd love to find a good BBQ sauce that doesn't use HFCS.

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  2. This is far from being a unique dish. It's staple potluck fare. I make it with my own homemade cream of chicken and mushroom soup. Canned soups tend to have too many preservatives and MSG.

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  3. My family and I love the tater tot casserole. We have it for dinner every time the season premieres and also the season finales with large ice cream cake. We especially can't wait for season 9. Natasha B.

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  4. There are versions of this casserole all over the country! Got my recipe from a friend’s “ proper” Boston raised mom. We jokingly call it “white trash” casserole. Hate to admit how yummy it tastes! My friend’s version that is. I only make it 2-3x a year. We also call it heart attack casserole😄

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    1. I don't think that term (above) is a joke. I find it very derogatory. I'm surprised it was allowed to be said here.

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    2. It's just a joke, especially when you're saying about yourself!

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    3. It’s just a joke!! Lighten up people.

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    4. If so you're offended, then next time you go out for dinner be careful that you don't say "I'm going out for (insert a nationality here)food. After all, its food right? Why do we need to label the type. (eye roll) Puhleaze!!

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  5. I would imagine Jeremy did not like either dish. As an athlete, and also growing up in an Italian household with a lot of home cooking, tater tot casserole is so highly processed, high salt, high fat, it probably blew his mind, lol!

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  6. Ugh... so much sodium...

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    1. Ugh... so much negativity...

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    2. Pretty much my reaction too. I'm known in my family as the "saltless wonder" because I dislike salt in large amounts on anything. Most convenience foods are way too salty for me.

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    3. It's not negative to point out the obvious, that the recipes the Duggars share with viewers are all full of fat, sodium, and other yucky stuff.

      I'm with you, 11:36. It's either No Salt, Low Salt, or I don't buy it. I cook with a ton of onions, garlic, and every herb & herb blend from A to Z. I alphabetized my spice jars on 3 tiered shelves, each 2 feet long. So that's 6 feet of salt-free flavors to choose from! I never add salt when cooking except when it's chemically necessary, like in bread baking. I can probably quote you the sodium content on everything in the supermarket. I've read that many labels and put that many products back on the shelf without buying them. I'm this way about fat, too. I do a fat to calorie ratio and if a product doesn't fall within my guidelines, we don't eat it.

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    4. Not only the salt but the fat content is off the charts. Tater tots are made with cheese and are deep fried. Creme soups are also high on fat content. And you are adding condense milk plus creme soups!!


      I am a cancer survivor and there is no way I would ever serve this to my family. Forget BBQ sauce. That is just flavored sugar.

      There are many other dishes people can serve that are healthier and just as easy to make and cheaper. Instead of tater tots, use mashed pototoes. Mash the potatoes with their own water and only a bit of butter. For added flavor,add sweet potatoe to the mashed patotoe. Put celery and onions in the meat and put a layer of veggies between the meat and potatoes. You can put low fat cheese on the top. Simple and not that expensive..and no processed food

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    5. Better yet, microwave some baking potatoes. Meanwhile, braise some turkey tenderloins sprinkled with herbs. There's your turkey and potatoes, without all the fat and sodium. If you have a crowd, scallop some russet potatoes with a skim milk sauce and roast a whole turkey. This is the season to find those on sale. I don't think Michelle was a very creative or inspired cook, by the sound of her family's recipes. They're things you make when you're exhausted and don't have the time or energy to think about a meal. But you end up paying for it later with potential health problems. Show that Tater Tot Casserole recipe to a cardiologist and watch the reaction...

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    6. Do all of you negative people realize that one meal like this now and then is not going to hurt anyone? For pete's sake!

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    7. It's not just "one meal" with the Duggars, though. Are you familiar with their recipes? Have you seen what's in their pantry and freezers? Have you watched them go food shopping and cooking? Have you seen all the restaurant meals they eat, where ingredients are beyond their control? I and many others have witnessed their shopping and their meals. Using canned foods and convenience foods is their way of eating. And now some of the married kids are keeping those same cooking and eating habits. That's where the concern comes in.

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    8. 5:01 None of the Duggar kids are overweight. Let them eat what they want. I don’t spend my time worrying about what other people are eating.

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  7. I make tater tot casserole but a little different than theirs.. Bet its still yum though

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  8. It appears that the Duggars have accepted that much of their audience consists of people who like to make fun of them, and now they are capitalizing on it!

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    1. Anon @ 2:54 Yes but as the old saying goes you want them laughing with you, not at you!

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  9. I love Jeremy's comment, "we've never been invaded by so many." Not cool to surprise newlyweds with nearly the entire family for their Anniversary! An Anniversary is generally a private celebration. If it were me, I would want to know they're coming in advance so I could have meals prepared.

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    1. If you watched the whole she Jermey invited them the only one who did isn't know they were coming was Jinger she was feeling homesick

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    2. It wasn't on their anniversary. That was already determined.

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    3. If I remember correctly, Jeremy invited them. Wasn't this the episode where Jinger was so happy to see her mom?

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    4. I don’t know if you saw the episode. If you did, you would know that Jeremy arranged for the family to come to Laredo since Jinger was missing them. Jinger was the only one that didn’t know.

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    5. I believe Jeremy invited them because Jinger was homesick for her family.

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    6. They didn’t surprise them Jeremy knew they were coming. Also this didn’t happen on their real anniversary, they celebrated that privately, some things they redo for the show

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    7. No I don't think it bothered Jinger to have them come for a visit. I'm sure they stayed at a hotel close by. It was just Jinger and Jeremy there by themselves since getting married and so that poor girl was probably bored out of her mind and was happy to see her family. Living hundreds of miles away from everyone and everything she knew all her life can take a toll on a person. I think she was ecstatic to see them. A spouse doesn't replace your family, they become a part of your family. You still need your family.

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    8. I understood that Jeremy planned that, as a surprise for Jinger. So it was actually a very nice gesture of Jeremy and her family. She was very happy to see them. S. from Holland

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    9. It wasn’t the entire family on their anniversary. It was a surprise for Jinger who was missing her family and was thrilled to see them.

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    10. Living hundreds of miles away from everyone and everything you know is called being an adult. Jinger should have been aware of the toll this can take before agreeing to marry Jeremy. You can't always have everything in life so it's best you learn how to cope with what you've gotten yourself into instead of running back home all the time - or having home run to you.

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    11. Wow, 8:19. I'm glad Jeremy is more thoughtful and compassionate than that.

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    12. It's true that the in-law families don't visit back and forth nearly as much as the Duggars do. It's also true that you need to learn to handle your own married life no matter how far it takes you from home.

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    13. Jinger is handling her own married life. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a face to face conversation with your mom especially when you are pregnant with your first child. It is wonderful that she is so close to her family even if she doesn’t get to see them as often as she would like.

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  10. Tater tot casserole wasn't necessarily a "favorite" with the family. They simply used convenience foods that could easily be prepared in huge quantities. They don't seem to eat it now.

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    1. That’s what this post says, what was the point of your comment?

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    2. I think that was directed at anyone who actually did think it was a favorite.

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  11. My mother made a similar casserole for my family. It feeds a lot of people and includes all the food groups. My mother used green beans along with ground meat with onions and condensed mushroom soup.

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    1. The food groups thing is a very weak indicator of a meal’s nutritional value.

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    2. Explain to me why you must be so rude. I was only sharing my thoughts . not saying anything about nutritional value. Just that my moms twist was to add a vegetable.

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    3. @No one -- I got what you were saying and appreciated your comment. People have gotten so negative here that I rarely come to this blog any more. And I can only imagine the comments that Ellie has to screen out.

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  12. Barnabus BottingerOctober 23, 2018 at 6:48 PM

    Jeremy's in for a treat. Love that Tatertot Casserole. Great way to feed a crowd!

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  13. Sounds gross! also dont think jeremy was thrilled about this either. kinda rude to bring entire family almost without a call to them. this is old video too.mary keim hambden twp ohio mennonite

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    1. I don't think you watched this closely because they was all invited. The Duggars was educated in good manners. Have you thought getting your ears checked? Selective hearing is a common trait it seems in the comment section.

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    2. It sounds as though you didn't watch the episode, because this "rude" behavior you accuse them of didn't actually happen.

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    3. Jeremy invited the family to come, because Jinger was really missing them. Jinger was the only one who didn’t know they were coming, and she cried with joy when she saw them. Jeremy is a very thoughtful husband!

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  14. Recently my hubby and I made Jim Bob's BBQ tuna fish for the first time. We couldn't tell it was tuna fish, sort of taste like BBQ pork or beef. We thought it was good so we made some more...Jane

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    1. I tried it also, it is very good. It does taste like BBQ pulled pork.

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  15. After my mother read their book she made tater tot casserole weekly...except 2 problems. I’m allergic to milk and I HATE potatoes

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  16. Jim Bob is so funny!! I love it!

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  17. I loved seeing Jim Bob and Michelle again! I think they are parents who work very hard for their family and do their best for their children. Are they perfect? No, but none of us are. I hope to see them more in the future. S. from Holland.

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  18. It’s so unhealthy. The Duggars don’t need to eat like this anymore. Cheap food in large quantities. We have seen over the years how Ben is a health advocate, and certainly Jeremy didn’t grow up on or embrace these food choices. Jana has a huge garden to provide abundant vegetables. There are certain Duggars who look like they still forgo anything healthy, but it’s now by choice versus necessity. Please don’t promote this as a good thing.

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    1. You can't tell them what they need. That's their choice. It shows that these are real people. Did you know that it's unhealthy to cut out all unhealthy foods from your diet? This is not all that unhealthy like some try to make it sound, however, you can change up the ingredients if you wish. This becomes unhealthy when you constantly eat it.

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    2. It’s unhealthy to cut out all unhealthy foods?? Hmm😳😳. Honestly, how did you arrive at eating some unhealthy food is actually healthy? While a little sugar or trip through MickeyD’s, or an occasional ( very oocasional) serving of tator tot casserole isn’t usually a game changer, you can in no way claim eating anything unhealthy is actually healthy.

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  19. I also enjoyed tater tot casserole growing up. As an adult I came up with a variation that I make sometimes and replace the ground meat with sausage and the green beans with asparagus. The asparagus does not need to be precooked. I like the way these flavors blend

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  20. Ewwwww.....ground turkey. Tried it and gagged.

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    1. I tried ground turkey once and never again. It has a really nasty aftertaste.

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    2. It depends on the brand you get and what kind of seasonings you add.

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    3. I make excellent grilled turkey burgers (ground breast meat only) that are out of this world! You season them like you'd season a meat loaf, and then opt for mayo on top in the bun, instead of ketchup or mustard. Now I'm hungry for a grilled turkey burger!

      I also use ground chicken breast to make burgers, tacos, and meatballs. Chicken breast, chopped spinach, onion, and lemon peel - yum!

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  21. Like most things made with convenience foods, Tater Tot casserole is very high in fat and sodium I dislike anything made with frozen potatoes so I find it unappealing. I'm glad to see that the Duggars have moved away from this recipe and are making more healthy food choices.

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    1. You can use fresh potatoes. Even a healthy eater knows that eating this every great once and while won't hurt. You have you learn control.

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  22. I never had tatortot casserole. I never even heard of it before. Being from Nj. everyone's big family casserole dish was tuna noodle casserole. We all made it at least once a month.lol

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  23. I've made this dinner for over 40 years and change it up once in a while to make it different. I mix the cream of chicken soup in with the hamburger as it's not so dry that way. I use different veggies on top of the mix with corn being our favorite; succotash (or make your own with corn and baby Lima's) is a nice change too. But cauliflower or broccoli works pretty good and then layer with American and Cheddar cheeses, then the tator tots. Since I cook for one now, I use an 8x8" pan and I've got a couple of lunches and/or suppers I can just heat up. If I can't seem to eat it all, I freeze the leftovers in one-serving freezer bags and then I've got a meal already made if I don't feel like cooking. You can do so many different things with this like using chopped up chicken or turkey pieces or fajita meat and different seasonings, etc. Hope you all enjoy this meal...it's soooo easy to make.

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    1. They are good ideas Betty. I'm going to try some of the variations you mentioned. Thank you, they sound good.

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    2. Replace the tater tots with mash potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes. Better for you. You should avoid all deep fried foods.

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  24. I can handle tater tot casserole but fish and bbq sauce, no, just no! But I don't like fish tacos either. Some things, fish just doesn't go with.

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    1. I'm not sure why anyone would put bbq sauce on canned tuna. Were they trying to pretend it was pulled pork or something?

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  25. Tater Tot Casserole is a comfort food for our family. It cures homesickness, heartbreak, bad hair day, and rainy day blues. Let’s face it. Some days just don’t warrant healthy eating. A prayer beforehand - “Gracious God, Bless this food that is before us and the hands that made it. Take away the malady that inspired our appetite for Tater Tot Casserole. We especially give you thanks for those willing to share our meal and support our needs. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.


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    1. Anon 2:02 LOL. Take away the malady that inspired our appetite for Tator Tot Casserole. LOL 😂

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  26. Nobody would ever need to use cream soups if they'd simply learn to make a decent white sauce with add-in variations. Much tastier and better for you.

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    1. True but it's way easier just to open a can.

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    2. Not for this kind of dish, especially if the rue isn't mixed properly and you add it over the tater tots, you are going to end up with a goopy mess and mash. Yuk!

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    3. I still have the old Home Ec white sauce proportions in my head! Thin, medium, and thick. The start for many casseroles.

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    4. Maybe that's a sign that you shouldn't be making this recipe, if you can't make it successfully with a decent white sauce.

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    5. 7:50, I make my own cream soups all the time and use them in casseroles, as well as tater tot hot dish. There's never a goopy mess and tastes much better than canned soups.

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    6. I would love to try making my own cream soups to add to casseroles. Can you write a recipe here? Thanks

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  27. I'll have to say that Jeremy is good natured.

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  28. Ellie have you ever had the tuna fish and bbq sauce? I really can’t imagine that tasting good!!

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    1. I haven't tried this recipe, but all the other Duggar recipes that I have tried have been great.

      Ellie

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  29. Why do most of you think that Jeremy grew up in an Italian household? He did not. His mother IS NOT Italian and that makes all the difference. Diana Vuolo is Anglo-Saxon. She didn't know how to cook Italian food or how Italians live when she married her husband. Jeremy's grandmother Vuolo ALSO IS NOT Italian. She learned how to cook some of her husband's favorite dishes from Jeremy's GREAT GRANDMOTHER. Please, TLC, Lily and Ellie...drop the Italian thing with Jeremy. He is partly Italian...not the majority of his background.

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    1. Jeremy grew up with both parents. Why is his mother being Anglo-Saxon more important if both parents are actively involved in their children's lives and upbringing? Jeremy's father grew up in a household that valued their family's Italian heritage. While Jeremy's paternal grandmother isn't Italian, she learned her husband's favorite Italian recipes and has continued to serve them to her family. It matters to the Vuolo family to continue food traditions. Why is it a problem that the Vuolos acknowledge their Italian background? Jeremy isn't misrepresenting himself as they openly discuss family history. It also doesn't mean that Jeremy values his mother's side any less.

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  30. I get the feeling that this whole thing was meant to be humorous, making a little bit of fun of the Duggars’ reputation for loving canned & frozen food vs. Jeremy’s reputation for healthier and fresher eating. They were leaughing enough on camera, and I’m sure the producers had to edit out even more laughter. Each time JB says “you’re gonna love this, Jeremy”, it gets just a little bit goofier.
    One look at Jana’s garden says that the Duggars no longer eat stuff like this regularly, and they more or less confirmed that during the talking head segments. So I really think it was all a stunt, offering a little self-deprecating humor while giving Jinger a little “taste of home”.

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  31. I made the casserole. Didn't care for it, but my family loved it.

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  32. Here in Los Angeles we just say "tuna," not "tuna fish." I guess it's a regional thing?

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    1. "Tuna fish" is a bit redundant.

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    2. We just say tuna in NC and GA too

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    3. Its tuna here in Iowa too!

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  33. 'Counting On' is a favorite family program & our TV subscription is largely for TLC. Rumors of cancellation are regrettable. Who do we contact to voice our concern & disappointment to hopefully prevent it?

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