On November 6th, National Nachos Day recognizes the snack favored at sporting events across the country. In their purest form, nachos are tortilla chips covered in nacho cheese or other melted cheese and served with salsa.
- First created sometime around 1943, the popular and loved nachos are of Mexican origin.
- Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya created the original nachos in 1943. According to his son, his father was the maître d’ at the El Moderno Restaurant in Piedras Negras. One evening after the kitchen staff had left, a group of U.S. Army wives stationed at Fort Duncan in Eagle Pass came into the restaurant. After a long day of shopping, they were hungry and asked for a snack.
- Anaya prepared some tostadas cut into triangles. After topping them with shredded cheese and sliced jalapenos, he heated the dish in the oven. They were such a hit with the Army wives that they named the snack “Nacho’s Special” before he could make another batch.
- The first known appearance of the word “nachos” in English dates to 1949, from the book A Taste of Texas.
- The original recipe is printed in the 1954 St. Anne’s Cookbook.
- Nachos as we know them aren’t Mexican food, they’re Tex-Mex.
- In Mexico nachos are called ‘totopos’.
- Nachos is the food most craved by pregnant women.
- Tortilla chips as we know and love them were a completely accidental invention and — just like Velveeta — actually came about because an enterprising business was looking for a way to use their scrap materials.
- It started in the 1940s, when the El Zarape Tortilla Factory automated their manufacturing processes. Misshapen tortillas and extra pieces were thrown away. The company president decided to take some of the throw-away tortillas and fry them up for a special treat at a party she was throwing, the response she got made it clear she’d stumbled on something amazing. They started selling the “chips” at their LA deli, and a snack food was born.
- Tortilla chips were a stroke of 20th century genius, but salsa has been around for a surprisingly long time. According to The Nibble, salsa (which is just a Spanish word meaning “sauce”), was given its moniker by Spanish conquistadors who were introduced to the idea when they crossed the ocean to the New World in the 16th century.
- The reason you can find nachos at every single US sporting event is because of Frank Liberto. According to The Smithsonian, nachos were already popular in Texas, but it wasn’t until 1976 that he started serving them up at a baseball game.
- Liberto created the cheddar-based cheese sauce that didn’t need to be refrigerated and was, therefore, the perfect addition to any stadium snack. The formula for his cheese was so secret, in fact, that one man was arrested in 1983 for trying to buy Liberto’s trade secrets.
- According to Houston Press, we can thank the Felix Mexican Restaurant for coming up with the idea of chile con queso. The restaurant, which opened in 1926, used a very old-school recipe for their cheese dip that used flour, tomatoes, and paprika to create a bechamel base, and then added in cheese and some cayenne to finish off the dip.
- According to Serious Eats, official recipes for chile con queso didn’t start showing up until 1949, and in the 1950s, President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife turned what had been a regional favorite into a national one with their even simpler recipe: Take some Velveeta and a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes, heat, mix, and dip!
- Ballpark nachos rose to fame in the ‘70s when NFL sportscaster Howard Cosell couldn’t stop talking about them. Cosell got a hold of them a couple years later during a Baltimore Colts and Dallas Cowboys game, and the rest is history.
- The International Nacho Festival is held between October 13 and 15 at Piedras Negras, the Texas border town where they were invented. Part of the celebrations features a “biggest nacho of the world” contest which is registered with the Guinness Book of World Records.