Every culture has made it's contribution to the culinary category of appetizers and fast
food. Such as "Pizza" and the uncredited diner favorite of battered fried zucchini, onion
rings, mushrooms and mozzarella sticks known as a "Frito Misto" from Italy, to the shores
of Spain for it's "Tappas", England's infamous "Fish & Chips", and China's contribution of
their large variety of it's "Dim Sum".
But Mexico is right up there with it's contribution of "Nachos". But where did this appetizer
standard in just about every diner, restaurant chain and bar originate.
In 1943, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya assembled the very first nacho. He had no idea that in
the years to come, this appetizer would make his nickname a household word. The name
of the snack was first called "Nacho’s Especiales" after it's originator and then the name
was later shortened to just simply “Nachos".
Nacho Anaya gave birth to this dish one afternoon in Piedras Negras, Mexico when some
U.S. Soldier's wives walked into the Moderno Restaurant where he was working was just
about to close. They were starving from a hard day of shopping, so to please these lovely
ladies, Ignacio put together a snack with just the ingredients he had leftover in the
restaurant; some tortillas, cheddar cheese and pickled jalapeno pepper slices. He cut the
round tortillas into triangles and deep fried them till crisp and then topped them with the
cheese. He then proceeded to put them under the broiler to melt the cheese and then put
several jalapeno pepper slices on top and the rest is history. The nacho was so
contagious that the dish immediately became popular over the border in Texas where it
was now being introduced to the refried bean.
This popular appetizer of tortilla chips and melted cheese has become a Tex-Mex classic.
In honor of it's creator, Piedras Negrasis, the town where Nacho Anaya dished up the very
first plate of nachos, hosts an annual nacho competition during the second week of
October where every creative version is represented.
From nacho soup to nacho lasagna, triangular or round, this by chance simple appetizer
has morphed itself into a phenomena that has every celebrity chef today creating their
own stylized recipe.
This dish has become so popular and loved by children all over the U.S., that it is a now a
standard on just about every school lunch menu right up there with the infamous mac &
cheese and pizza. When made the most popular way we know today with refried beans, it
is recognized as a hearty and nutritious meal for our youth. It has also become a beer
drinking buddy among the pubs and sports bars across the nation along with the tortilla
chip itself becoming a stand alone snack in vending machines everywhere.
So whether you enjoy your nachos the original way with just cheddar cheese and
jalapenos, or taken to a gourmet extreme by using caviar and Brie, remember that all this
came about by chance one day in a little town in Mexico by Ignacio Anaya, Mr. Nacho.