Nachos may be the single most favored snack in the world. We have food holidays to celebrate every ingredient on the plate from Tortilla Day, to Salsa Day, to Cheese Day. This month, let’s look into where nachos come from and how we get the inspiration for some of our creations.
We like to fantasize about tortilla chips, salsa and avocado raining down from the sky to shower us with the heavenly blessing that are nachos, however, there is a much more realistic explanation. The common dish known today as nachos originated in Northern Mexico.
Nachos are actually a relatively recent dish. So recent in fact that that researchers believe they have traced the original creator in the small Mexican city of Piedras Negras. No, you shouldn’t be surprised they research things like this. Nachos are a very popular dish and people get excited about just thinking about them.
According to the Adriana P. Orr, Oxford English Dictionary etymologist in a letter sent in 1999, nachos were created by Ignacio Anaya in 1943. Anaya was a chef at the Old Victory Club who one evening took pity on a group of U.S. military wives whose husbands were stationed at nearby base Fort Duncan. The story is told that the wives spend a day shopping in Eagle Pass and decided to stop by for dinner on their way home only to find all nearby restaurants had closed for the evening. Being a kind man, Anaya offered to cook something for the wives from what was left over in the kitchen. He sliced and fried fresh tortilla chips, covered them in shredded cheddar cheese and sliced jalapenos, threw the mixture in the oven for a few minutes and named the dish after his nickname and thus created “Nachos Especials”!
Of course the military wives loved the dish delivered to them. So much so that it was later found recorded in a church cookbook in Eagle Pass. Since then, nachos have become a Mexican, or more aptly a world-wide staple!
Of course in the years since Anaya’s initial development, nachos have taken on many more toppings. It doesn’t take a long look at our menu to notice that we have taken our inspiration from a man we believe should be sainted, and developed a world all our own at Nacho Hippo.
We took the plain tortilla chips and spiced it up with our special cheese blend and queso, lettuce, and pico de gallo. Then we let our imaginations run wild. What else would people like to see on top of a plate of nachos? You know we can’t be simple. So we started making a list: cilantro, corn, olives, tomatoes, seared vegetables and of course Jalapenos. We can’t leave out one of the original ingredients, so next we added black beans, pepper jack cheese for a little extra spice, and queso fresco. But what about the meat? Not to worry, we made a list for that too: taco beef, chili, shredded pork shredded chicken, steak, and shrimp. Unlike Anaya, we don’t make nachos out of what was left, instead we created a list of everything you could possibly want and we didn’t leave anything off.
While we may all agree that nachos come with divine intention, we have a man from Northern Mexico to thank for the glorious food invention. A man that was simply trying to be kind to some ladies who spent a long day shopping and just wanted something to eat. Thank you Ignacio Anaya for your inspiration!