You’re commuting home and your stomach is growling like a malnourished wolf in the winter. You simply can’t wait to get home and spend another hour making dinner, so you pull over to the nearest gas station and grab some nachos for yourself. Crispy and salty tortilla chips, hot melted cheese sauce, and fiery jalapeños all come together to quell your hunger pangs for the duration of your drive.
But in the midst of your minor hunger criss, have you ever wondered where nachos actually came from?
In his book How the Hot Dog Found Its Bun, author Josh Chetwynd claims the beloved snack came from a group of Army wives in the 1940s.
It seems that back in 1943, in a Mexican town that bordered Texas, the married women at the local US Army Air Force base (Eagle Pass Army Airfield) would occasionally hop the border to shop for fun. Piedras Negras, the town across the Rio Grande River from where they were located, was a hotspot for the women to experience Mexican culture.
One day, a group of Army wives planned on dining at a restaurant called the Victory Club in Piedras Negras. The maitre d’, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya had just sat them down when he realized the cook was nowhere to be found.
According to the Oxford Companion of Food and Drink, Nacho looked around the kitchen to see what he could whip up on short notice. The desperate maitre d’ combined cheese and jalapeños over a bed of tortilla chips and served it to the women.
The item garnered so much acclaim that it became a popular staple of Tex-Mex cuisine by the 1960s.
Nachos were further elevated thanks to a man named Frank Liberto, who found a way to create an artificial cheese hybrid that was easier to serve to the masses at sporting events. This type of “nacho cheese” didn’t have to be heated up before serving.
The rest is history.
As you drive home, your steering wheel covered in processed gold and jalapeño bits, take a minute to appreciate the rich history behind the popular concession.
It’s nacho average origin story.