Monday, November 20, 2017

Daily Food Post #5: Nachos

It was only recently that I found out the history behind one of the most popular food items in America- Nachos. Quite intriguing, really, how something so simple, and tasty, actually has history attached to it. For starters, I had my own doubts about whether or not this dish was even truly Mexican. You know, like General Tso's Chicken, and Cauliflower Manchurian- that aren't actually Chinese. Or heck, the food served at most Indian restaurants here showcasing paneer tikka masala, tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala, and naan (highly highly overrated) on their menus, as if these dishes encompass the entirety of *all* Indian cuisine. So not correct!

Going back to Nachos- so apparently back in 1943, in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya, the headwaiter at the Victory Club, threw together this dish with some tortilla chips, cheese, and jalapeño poppers for a bunch of hungry army wives. He called it, Nachos Especiales. The hungry ladies were very thankful to Mr. Nacho, and started eating. The warm, crispy tortilla chips topped with ooey-gooey melted cheese, and spicy jalapeños totally made their day. They felt satiated at the end of the meal. When they asked him for the recipe, he was nice enough to give it to them. And then, you know how it goes- people talk, news travels, recipes travel too, and the nachos recipe somehow got into the hands of this one Frank Liberto in Texas. Mr. Liberto altered the recipe by coming up with cheese sauce, which in fact is supposedly not even cheese! Go figure! However, unlike good old Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya, who readily gave away the recipe to his innovation, this latter dude did not believe in divulging the recipe to the cheese sauce created by him. So that's a trade secret. He built a company, made money, and now his son runs the company. Meanwhile, when the original Mr. Nacho died in 1975, they built a bronze plaque in his memory, and declared October 21st as International Day of the Nacho. But then they call Mr. Liberto as "The Father of Nachos." I suppose they ought to call Mr. Nacho as the Grandfather of Nachos? Those hungry women who first tasted nachos, and spread the original recipe around- are they the Grandmothers of Nachos? Also, did someone build bronze plaques in their memory?    

Interesting read: History of Nachos. There's plenty more articles up there on the internet..... the only thing I haven't found is an image of that bronze plaque they made in memory of Ignacio Nacho. Guess that calls for a trip to Piedras Negras one of these days. I am truly curious to see if it actually exists. 

And now for my version: Spicy Chicken Nachos

Appi's Spicy Chicken Nachos


Note: Quantities will vary depending on the number of people you are cooking for, and/or how much you want (them) to eat! Gotta go the eyeball route...
*Your favorite tortilla chips

*Cooked chicken- taco style- i.e. with taco or fajita seasoning. I use onions and bell pepper when I cook chicken for tacos/fajitas

*Pepper jack cheese

*Sharp cheddar cheese

*Fresh jalapeños chopped your style (fine or discs or slit.... )


1. In a lightly greased baking dish, layer all the ingredients, starting with the chips. On the chips goes the chicken. On the chicken goes some jalapeño. On that goes some grated cheese. You could layer that again with more chips, chicken, jalapeño, and cheese 

2. Bake the above in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts 

3. Broil off for a couple minutes to brown the cheese 

4. Optional: Garnish with more jalapeño or some fresh pico de gallo or perhaps some guacamole or just plain chopped avocado. A dollop of sour cream will also go pretty well with these spicy nachos. 

5. Dig in, just like those hungry women did all those years ago when Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya served them that first ever plate of Nachos Especiales. Be sure to try this recipe, and spread the word. 

Maybe many years from now, somebody will build a bronze plaque in my memory too... and then some more years later, someone will write about me and call me the "Mother of Spicy Chicken Nachos!" Hey, I am allowed to fantasize a little bit!! Incidentally, the year this "Nacho" dude died, is the year I was born! Now that definitely adds to the intrigue! 

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