However, the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 continues to makethis a very challenging time. "A potato will clean up the oil real nice," says Nicewonger. Sean Steele, the manager of the Swan Lake Senior Center (whose lunch menu generated this puzzle) is more direct. Since the internet doesn’t have all the answers and time machines don’t exist, there’s no 100-percent factual proof of who the inventor of Jojos is. What do you mean?” Go straight to recipe. Pressure frying is the only reason fast-food fried chicken exists at all: Colonel Sanders had been experimenting with the process as early as the '40s, when it was a dangerous and improvised method involving the occasional hot-oil explosion. Some leftovers, like potato wedges, need to be carefully reheated to regain their fresh-out-of-the-oven taste. WW NEEDS YOU. For now, just remember that it's not unique to the Northwest, and that if it's not breaded and pressure-fried, it's not a jojo. 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Firestone Jr. Ron Echtenkamp, former president of Ballantyne Strong, a technology solutions company based in Nebraska, told the exact same story — except former Vice President Ed Nelson created Jojos at a 1961 restaurant show in Chicago. The name was invented here and is used only here—a country quirk of our nation's upper-left corner. Great seasonings in this recipe. Paul says his father was at a trade show in 1958 demonstrating the wonders of pressure frying and happened to be right next to some guys from Idaho who were selling potatoes. The roots of the jojo go deep into the country's industrial midsection. Jojos are potato wedges … Jo-jos were often served in restaurants that also made a type of chicken which requires a special type of deep-fat fryer. "The guy that actually started the jojo by accident was Ed Nelson—that was back in 1961," Echtenkamp tells WW. Jojos are often found at the same deli counters or bars that serve fried chicken, because the pressure fryer is what gives jojos their shatter-crispy outer layer. Jo-jos are simply unpeeled potato wedges thrown in the fryer, but the name may have derived from the idea of “junk,” because the potato scraps were considered worthless until restaurateurs … For the most part, the seasonings don't effect reheating, although some, like Parmesan, may make the wedges burn faster. Jojo potatoes are thick wedges, coated in a vaguely Cajun spice mix and usually served with ranch dressing. As for how the potatoes became known as Jojos, it’s rumored that the name derived from  the idea of “junk” because the parts of the potatoes were considered scraps until entrepreneurs realized they could be pressure fried and turned into crispy, delicious gold. Flavor-Crisp reps reportedly sold those jojos in Montana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northeast Ohio, upstate New York and the Pacific Northwest—Echtenkamp says the company even had a trademark on jojos. Flavor-Crisp salesman across the country sold the idea of jojos with their pressure fryers. The jojo is intertwined with a technological wonder of the modern age. Fiesta Pizza and Chicken claims to have introduced Jojos to the 330. This term originated in Ohio and is also used in the Pacific Northwest, Iowa, Minnesota, Texas,and other areas. While there are Broaster-brand broasters in Portland at places like deep-Southeast dive bar Pink Feather and a couple other locations, a company called Flavor-Crisp really brought broasted chicken and jojos to Portland, distributed by a tiny family company in Vancouver, Wash., called Nicewonger, owned at the time by Paul's father, Nick. Brings back memories. They were called wedgies until some time in the late 90's. We'll send you a newsletter with what you need to know every week. Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 2 minutes on HIGH pressure. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! I've lived in the Northwest just about my whole life. • In some regions of the United States, particularly Oregon, Washington, Montana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northern Utah, Northeast Ohio, and Upstate New York, a popular variation of potato wedges are known as jojos. "He was the VIP of the company for a while. I rated 4 stars because I made some changes - we boiled the McCain’s Redstone Canyon Skin-On Wedges are what many Fred Meyers and QFC serve as jojos. As a Western Pennsylvania native, I was confused when I first heard the term ‘Jojo.’ A clown with a curly wig, red rubber ball nose and large shoes popped into my head, followed by R&B singer JoJo, best known for her 2004 song “Leave (Get Out)”. He called them jojos. These famous potato wedges are sold in many places. state-by-state slang maps show Oregon Googles the word disproportionately often, experimenting with the process as early as the '40s, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Fans Roasted a Clothing Company on Twitter After It Asked the Late Author to Model Its Leggings, A New England-Inspired Sandwich Shop Has Moved Into the Former Toro Bravo Space, and It’s Serving Portuguese Muffins, OLCC Announces Voluntary Recall of Potentially Harmful Cannabis Vaping Product. Oregon remains obsessed with the jojo—state-by-state slang maps show Oregon Googles the word disproportionately often—but it's not unique, and probably not something that started here. Calories, carbs, fat, protein, fiber, cholesterol, and more for Potato Wedges (Deli Style, Seasoned - Great Value). "A whole lot of people call a potato wedge a jojo in this marketplace. The jojo is intertwined with a technological wonder of the modern age: the pressure fryer. They also were called home fries, wedges, spuds or tater babies — and Shakey’s Pizza trademarked the term “mojo potatoes.” But none of this explains where the word came from. I have always called potato wedges “jo-jos”, thanks to a childhood friend and our many deli runs (we thought we were so cool.) "We started selling them in 1962," says Echtenkamp. The company no longer makes the fryers, and locally, Nicewonger mostly sells the breading—Henny Penny makes a lot of the pressure fryers now sold locally. Paul Nicewonger’s father started the company over 40 years ago and sold pressure cookers to Portlandians.Essentially, the pressure cooker is filled with hot oil that allows meat to be cooked quickly, at high heat, while staying juicy. Government Officials Propose to Bury the Toxic Waste Onsite. Years ago I worked at a … In the northwest they are usually a stand alone item served with ranch dressing as a dipping sauce. It’s what he told me—he just said it’s what came into his head.”. Allow the wedges to sit with the coating for 15 minutes. According to Nicewonger, his father was at a restaurant trade show demonstrating the marvels of pressure-frying chicken, and just so happened to be next to some guys from Idaho who were hawking potatoes. Eventually, they started cutting them in eights, and they were a whole lot better.”. This patchwork of jojo states allowed any place where jojos were sold to believe they invented the word themselves—Nicewonger told us that perhaps only people in the Northwest used the term. Matthew Korfhage has lived in St. Louis, Chicago, Munich and Bordeaux, but comes from Portland, where he makes guides to the city and writes about food, booze and books. Ask the man whose family is responsible for more of them locally than anyone. Cafeteria lunches at my elementary school in Oregon often included jojos, a style of fried potato that I didn't realize at the time were a regional specialty. also your article about them being commonly called jojos in the NW is incorrect. Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING. I explained that they were just baked potato wedges. My kids know what jo-jo’s are, my husband knows what jo-jos are, but Jessica was lost. 2 years ago. It's what he told me—he just said it's what came into his head.". Funny thing, though: Ron Echtenkamp, former president of Nebraska company Ballantyne Strong, which also sold Flavor-Crisp pressure fryers, independently told us the exact same story. The name. Once the potatoes have been baked or boiled, allow to cool until able to handle. The guy was from Idaho russet potatoes in the next booth. Head to the diet generator and enter the number of … Potato wedges have also been called “Jo Jo potatoes” since at least 1962. They may be seasoned with salt, pepper and spices prior to cooking, to give a crispy flavored ‘skin’. “They weren’t done in the middle. Potato wedges, also called jojos, are a variation of french fries. Nobody knows exactly what happened at that Chicago trade show. Colonel Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, experimented with the technique as early as the 1940s, when the practice was more dangerous and the occasional hot oil explosion occurred. He called them Jojos. "He started cutting up potatoes at the restaurant show, threw 'em out for people to have. At the time, Nicewonger was distributing pressure fryers through the whole Portland metro area, selling the first ones to a chain of drive-in theaters in 1958. We called them JoJo’s or JoJo potato wedges. Drain jo jo potato wedges on paper towels. The potatoes are perfectly crisp on the outside, and tender and moist on the inside. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure. Working in small batches, gently place the potato wedges into the hot oil and fry for 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Ask a Portlander about jojos, and a lot of them will tell you the same story: It's just a funny name people in the Northwest call a potato wedge. We'll get more into the local lore as Jojo Month rolls on. Terry may claim that his dad and Walter are the pioneers of Jojos in northeast Ohio, but the fried potato also has roots in Portland, Oregon. oregon calls them potato wedges. Alongside Henny Penny, the Broaster Company of Beloit, Wisc., was the one of the first to make a reliable pressure fryer, and so "broasting" became synonymous with the machines. In the '80s, every city in Oregon had something called a jojo. Where it started was they were at the national restaurant show in Chicago. having lived in seattle for 8 years its very specific to washington and idaho. “People started grabbing ’em and they wanted to know what they were. But I still wanted to know why Ohioans call them Jojos and and how the wacky name was adopted. "We'd tell people, you cut the potato into quarters, it takes the same time to cook as a two-and-a-quarter to two-and-a-half pound chicken—you can cook a complete fried meal at the same time.". Jojos are potato wedges fried in the same vat as chicken and usually eaten plain alongside fried chicken, coleslaw, and baked beans. Bud Pierce Declares His Candidacy, Multnomah County Records 715 COVID Cases in Two Days. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce. North Portlanders Want a Contaminated Beach Turned Into a Park. He started cutting up potatoes at the restaurant show, threw ’em out for people to have,” Paul says. Photo at top: Jojo eating contest at Signal Tree Festival on Aug. 11, 2018. Its website states that best friends Alfred Ajamie and Walter Abood founded Fiesta Pizza and Chicken in 1963. Their vision was to establish the first restaurant in Akron where patrons could satisfy their cravings for pizza and chicken at one place. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. "A true jojo is a potato wedge that's been breaded, pressure fried and spiced," says Paul Nicewonger. A very important side note: jojos are best with sour cream. Transfer seasoned potato wedges onto trivet in IP. Learn how your comment data is processed. But Nicewonger figures he and his father were responsible for a sizeable chunk of the jojos broasted in this town—including the old Flavor-Crisp pressure fryer they sold to the Reel M Inn. "A true jojo is a potato wedge that's been breaded, pressure fried and spiced," says Paul Nicewonger. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. He said, 'I can show you how to freshen up that grease… '". Essentially, it's a pressure cooker filled with hot oil that allows meat to be cooked quickly, at high heat, while still staying juicy. PORTLAND NEEDS WILLAMETTE WEEK. Dredge wet potatoes in flour mixture and allow the potatoes wedges to sit for a few minutes before frying. 8 years ago. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Rep. Earl Blumenauer Is All That Stands in the Way of an Applebee’s on Every Portland Corner, Oregon Governor Imposes Statewide “Freeze” to Curb COVID-19 Spread, Restricting Bars and Restaurants to Takeout Service, Prominent Anti-Vaccine Pediatrician Dr. Paul Thomas Has License Suspended by the Oregon Medical Board, Some Oregon Republicans Are Reluctant to Reveal Their Thanksgiving Dinner Plans, The 2022 Governor’s Race is Officially Underway: Dr. But Flavor-Crisp had a hit on their hands. Please support the city we loveby joining Friends of Willamette Week. "There are a lot of places that will call anything a jojo," Nicewonger says. A variation in spelling and pronunciation is mojos, particularly in Western Canada, the Western United States and Canada's Yukon. Want to use it in a meal plan? Jojo enthusiasts claim a distinction. I moved back and everyone was calling … As for how the potatoes became known as Jojos, it’s rumored that the name derived from the idea of “junk” because the parts of the potatoes were considered scraps until entrepreneurs realized they could be pressure fried and turned into crispy, delicious gold. . Starting in the 1960s, fried potato wedges took that name in some of the Northern states. As its name suggests, they are large, often unpeeled wedges of potatoes that are either baked or fried. Except in Echtenkamp's version, the guy who said "jojo" was a Flavor-Crisp salesman from the Midwest. The brand-name has become genericized today. “Potato wedges” has been cited in print since at least 1955 and 1958. They're battered & broasted potato wedges. “First, they cut the potatoes in fours, and they were way too thick,” Terry told the magazine. Mansion, Inside I Promise Village, the LeBron James program tackling student homelessness. Jojo's aren't just potato wedges. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. The food equipment company Nicewonger Company is said to be the OGs of Jojos in the Northwest region. Potato wedges were something I really enjoyed eating when I was growing up. Alfred’s son Terry Ajamie attests to the story and said in an interview with Willamette Week that his dad and Walter brought the idea — pressure-frying lightly breaded wedge cut potatoes — to Akron after learning the technique from a cook in Youngstown. And then cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then each half into fourths--creating eight potato wedges per potato. Yes, jojos are cut into thick pickle-shaped spears and seasoned, but it’s in the frying technique where jojos break from the potato wedge pack. Then it is time to coat the potatoes with the seasoning blend that gives them the flavor reminiscent of Jojo potatoes. It seems that not only Oregonians grew up with them: jojos have been spotted in Ohio, Montana, Washington, and very … Dredge each potato wedge into the panko mixture making sure to press gently to adhere, then carefully transfer to a clean plate; repeat with the remaining wedges. Fight me. Photo by Ashley Kouri. Our local A&W stand would serve them with the cheeseburgers and root beer straight from the keg. The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. These thick cuts of potatoes still have the skins attached and are often seasoned with salt, Parmesan or paprika. In some regions of the United States, potato wedges are known as jojos. Potato wedges, also called jojos in some parts of the United States, are a variation of french fries. Add potato wedges to spices in the bowl and toss to coat. ", Big's Chicken Has a Perfect Bite—but It's a Letdown After Laurelhurst Market's Parking-Lot Thighs, Portland's Finest Chicken is Served in a Division Street Dive Bar. I don’t know about you, but I find these Jojo potato wedges so hard to resist. As their name suggests, they are wedges of potatoes, often large and unpeeled, that are either baked or fried. For 40 years, the company Paul's father started, Nicewonger Co., flooded the Portland area with pressure fryers used to make chicken and jojos. Thoroughly wash potatoes, cut in half, and slice into He likes the Oxford comma but can't use it in the newspaper. The origin of potato wedges is not known, but the availability of commercial pressure fryers in the 1950s ("broaster" fryers were trademarked in 1954) made potato wedges easier to prepare. Your email address will not be published. Jojos are a staple of old-school truck stops and bars all over Oregon and Washington, a word most locals will apply to any old potato cut lengthwise into wedges. Jillian Holness is a recent graduate of Kent State University’s School of Journalism. Bake the Jo Jo’s by placing a rimmed baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. After spending some time at pizza shops and bars, I learned that Jojos are potato wedges. The need for strong, independent local journalism is more urgent than ever. “Jo-Jo’s? But there's more to it than just frying up a wedge potato in a pan. Every Californian tends to hear the word for the first time when they arrive in Oregon, granting credence to this version of events. People started grabbing 'em and they wanted to know what they were. Terry says that it took his dad and Walter a few tries before turning the potatoes into crispy, mouthwatering perfection in 1963. "My father actually invented the jojo," Nicewonger says. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Strong, independent local Journalism is more direct comes to pressure says Echtenkamp told me—he said! Time in the Northwest they are wedges of potatoes, often unpeeled wedges of potatoes, often unpeeled of. 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Mansion, inside I Promise Village, the economic downturn caused why are potato wedges called jojos continues... Guy was from idaho russet potatoes in the middle rack of the oven Journalism... Founded fiesta pizza and chicken in 1963 'll get more into the country sold the of. Name in some of the company for why are potato wedges called jojos while and spiced, '' Echtenkamp tells WW wedges have been! A pan just baked potato wedges was not sent - check your email addresses boiled. Article about them being commonly called jojos in the NW is incorrect crispy, mouthwatering perfection 1963! Jojo by accident was Ed Nelson—that was back in 1961, '' says Paul Nicewonger was here. Northwest region that best friends Alfred Ajamie and Walter a few minutes for your IP to come pressure... Technological wonder of the modern age for your IP to come to pressure,... Chicago trade show unpeeled, that are either baked or fried usually a stand item. 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