iPhoneOgraphy – 01 Oct 2016 (Day 275/366)
Nachos are a Tex-Mex dish from northern Mexico. The dish is composed of tortilla chips (totopos) covered with cheese or cheese-based sauce, and is often served as a snack. More elaborate versions add more ingredients and can be served as a main dish. First created in about 1943 by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, the original nachos consisted of fried corn tortillas covered with cheddar cheese and sliced jalapeño peppers.
Nachos originated in the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, just over the border from Eagle Pass, Texas. In 1943, the wives of U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Duncan in nearby Eagle Pass were in Piedras Negras on a shopping trip, and arrived at the restaurant after it had already closed for the day. The maître d’hôtel, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, invented a new snack for them with what little he had available in the kitchen: tortillas and cheese. Anaya cut the tortillas into triangles, fried them, added shredded cheddar cheese, quickly heated them, added sliced pickled jalapeño peppers, and served them.
When asked what the dish was called, he answered, “Nacho’s especiales”. As word of the dish traveled, the apostrophe was lost, and Nacho’s “specials” became “special nachos”.
Anaya went on to work at the Moderno Restaurant in Piedras Negras, which still uses the original recipe. He also opened his own restaurant, “Nacho’s Restaurant”, in Piedras Negras. Anaya’s original recipe was printed in the 1954 St. Anne’s Cookbook.
The popularity of the dish swiftly spread throughout Texas and the Southwest. The first known appearance of the word “nachos” in English dates to 1950, from the book A Taste of Texas. According to El Cholo restaurant history, waitress Carmen Rocha is credited with making nachos in San Antonio, Texas, before introducing the dish to Los Angeles at El Cholo Mexican restaurant in 1959.
A modified version of the dish, with cheese sauce and prepared tortilla chips, was marketed in 1976 by Frank Liberto, owner of Ricos Products, during sporting events at Arlington Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This version became known as “ballpark nachos”. During a Monday Night Football game, sportscaster Howard Cosell enjoyed the name “nachos”, and made a point of mentioning the dish in his broadcasts over the following weeks, further popularizing it and introducing it to a whole new audience.
Ignacio Anaya died in 1975. In his honor, a bronze plaque was erected in Piedras Negras, and October 21 was declared the International Day of the Nacho. Anaya’s son, Ignacio Anaya, Jr., served as a judge at the annual nacho competition until his death in 2010.
The International Nacho Festival is held between October 13 and 15 at Piedras Negras and features a “biggest nacho of the world” contest which is registered with the Guinness World Records.
Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+