Nacho chips – or simply nachos – is a dish. It is not the chips alone. The chips in nacho chips are tortilla chips. Tortilla chips form the base of nacho chips, and that is one of the main ingredients of nachos, which also include nacho cheese, ground beef, and jalapeños. Cheese is important in the identity of nachos. Without cheese, it is just a bowl of tortilla chips.
The story of how nachos came to be is a story of customers looking for something new to eat and a man who had a moment of inspiration. A customer by the name of Mamie Finan was with her three friends and they were looking to eat at Victory Club sometime in 1940 and they requested Ignacio Anaya for something different. Anaya combined freshly fried corn tortillas, cheese, and jalapeño strips and called the dish Nacho’s Special (nacho could be Ignacio’s real name).
Nacho Chips Trivia
- The US FDA does not recognize nacho cheese as real cheese because unlike other cheese that can be clearly defined based on ingredients, how it is made, and other specifics, there is nothing specific about how to make nacho cheese.
- Nachos became popular in the US thanks to a certain Frank Liberto who tweaked the dish to contain what we now know as nacho cheese and not melted cheese. It was sold as stadium food at Arlington Stadium where its US popularity started.
- If you love nachos, mark your calendar: November 6 is National Nacho Day in the US, while The International Nacho Festival happens on October 13 and 15 at Piedras Negras.
- The world’s biggest serving of nachos weighed 4,689 pounds or 2,127 kilos. This record-setting nachos was made by Centerplate on April 21, 2012. This record-setting feat happened at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.
Nacho Chips Buying Guide
If given the choice between freshly-made nachos in restaurants or making one from a nacho kit, prefer buying and eating freshly-made nachos. Nacho kits are made and sold for convenience. If you are ordering in a restaurant or food stall, ask for the ingredients first. One characteristic of nachos is that every seller has taken the liberty of making a unique nachos dish by adding a new ingredient. It is not surprising to find nachos with a pile of different ingredients, so, if you have certain food allergies, make sure there is nothing in the nachos that will make you unwell.
If you are buying nachos for take-out, keep in mind that the quality of restaurant nachos is different compared to take-out nachos especially if a considerable length of time has passed since the nachos was made. The tortilla chips may not be as crunchy and the nachos may not be as appealing visually if you open your takeout or to-go nachos hours after it was made.
When buying nacho kits, check to make sure it hasn’t expired yet. Check also the condition of the packaging for tampering or damage. Do not buy nacho kits with damaged packaging since the quality of the food may be compromised making this unsafe to eat.
Nachos are available all year. There is no need to hoard or store in large quantities. It is best to have stock long enough to last until the next grocery day.
Nacho Chips Production & Farming in Texas
The ingredients used in making nachos are grown and available in Texas. There are nacho kits made in Texas by Texas companies. Many restaurants and other places in Texas that sell food (stadiums, cinemas, etc.) have nachos on the menu.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
Nachos contain a variety of additives for flavor, appearance, and improved shelf life. Here are some of the additives used in nachos:
- Artificial Flavors
- Citric Acid
- Corn Syrup
- Disodium Guanylate
- Disodium Inosinate
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Lactic Acid
- Magnesium Chloride
- Modified Food Starch
- Monosodium Glutamate
- Natural Flavor
- Potassium Sorbate
- Sodium Benzoate
- Sodium Alginate
- Sodium Phosphate
- Sorbic Acid
- Soy Lecithin
- Whey Protein Concentrate
Nachos originated in northern Mexico, in Piedras Negras, Coahuila. Nachos is also a popular food in the United States which is not surprising since the place where this food was invented was not very far from Eagle Pass, Texas. There are nachos in Europe but it is not the same as the ones sold in Mexican or American restaurants.
Store-bought – Groceries and supermarkets sell “nacho kits”. These are boxes that contain everything you need to make nachos (tortilla chips, nacho cheese or shredded cheese, seasoned ground beef, jalapeños, and other assorted toppings. A nacho kit is sold in a food packaging box, while the ingredients inside are separately packed in plastic packaging.
The packaging of nacho kits and canned/bottled nacho cheese contain important product information like the name of the manufacturer and where the product was made, ingredients and nutritional data, expiration or best-before date, and storage and handling instructions, among other things.
Restaurant food / Take-out – Restaurants and food businesses selling freshly-made nachos use paperboard boxes or any food-grade packaging box to make sure that the nachos are covered and secured. Others use styrofoam or plastic food packaging and/or include foil in packing take-out or to-go nachos.
Enjoying Nacho Chips
Nachos are very convenient to eat – you can just pick them with your fingers! You don’t need any eating utensils or worry about condiments because everything is there. You don’t even need a table because you can hold the box or tray in one hand and use your other hand for eating. It is a very casual food to eat and you don’t have to worry about violating any eating or cultural etiquette. And you can eat nachos while watching baseball or basketball or in between sets during a concert or while watching a movie. Eating nachos does not require your full attention, not until you have to really scoop up every nacho cheese and topping and finish with a clean plate! Nachos are very versatile. If you are not really hungry, nachos are already filling. But it is also a popular appetizer in restaurants. It is also a popular bar food because the ingredients of nachos go well with beer, liquor, or cocktails.
Nachos are everywhere! If you want to eat nachos, you can find one in a convenience store, a food concessionaire, a food stand, a food truck, and in restaurants. And if you want to custom-build nachos to suit your eating preference, you can buy all the ingredients you need in the grocery or supermarket and make your version of nachos.
Nacho kit packaging includes storage instructions; some brands require refrigeration, while others are safe to store in a cool, dry place. Make sure to read the instructions carefully. Make sure you store them where they are safe from insects, pests, or animals.
Make your own homemade nachos
Is it that time of the year for a family gathering and you are wondering what food to bring? Do you have friends coming over? Is it game night, or is there a major sporting event you are planning to watch at home with buddies? Are your children having friends over for group study or sleepover and you want to make a delicious snack? Are you craving really delicious, fully-loaded nachos? Sure you are! You don’t need a reason to make this delicious snack. If you have 25 minutes, you can make your own fully-loaded nachos. Here’s how:
This recipe makes nachos good for 6 persons
- 1 pack of tortilla chips (16 ounces)
- Cooking oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 4 cups shredded cheese cheddar
- 4 cups shredded Monterey jack
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup sliced jalapeños
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/2 cup salsa
- Sour cream
- Hot sauce for drizzling
- Put your ready-to-eat tortilla chips on a tray. Spread it evenly. Note: make sure it is ready to eat and does not require frying or cooking in the oven. If you are in Texas, Texas Real Food can help you find where to buy fresh and homemade tortilla chips from a local business.
- Put oil in a pan and add garlic, ground beef, and taco seasoning. This requires 5 to 10 minutes.
- Cover the tortilla chips with 2 cups each of Monterey jack and cheddar cheese.
- Put the cooked ground beef on top of the cheese.
- Cover the ground beef with the remaining cheese.
- Set the oven at 350 degrees and bake the nachos for 5 to 7 minutes to melt the cheese.
- Add the toppings. Spread evenly.
- Serve with optional dips in a separate bowl