Do you have nacho questions? Good thing we have nacho answers.
Q: Who invented nachos?
A: Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, Mexican, Restaurateur, Gentleman, Kwisatz Haderach. Some say he was born in 1894 and died in 1975. Others that he wandered out of the desert one day, fully grown, skillet in hand and disappeared the same way years later. Others that there never wasn’t an Ignacio Anaya.
Q: What are nachos?
A: In one word, “Delicious!” But the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition states:
na·cho - noun \ˈnä-(ˌ)chō\ - plural nachos - : a tortilla chip topped with melted cheese and often additional savory toppings (as hot peppers or refried beans)
Q: When were nachos invented?
A: Logic dictates that chips covered with cheese and toppings must have been created sometime upon the advent of the introduction of chips to cheese, however the official version of nachos were first made in 1943.
Q: Where were nachos invented?
A: 28° 42′ 0″ N, 100° 31′ 23″ W, also known as Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, at a restaurant called "The Victory Club. "
Q: Why were nachos invented?
A: One dark and stormy night, Ignacio was closing the restaurant up when out of the inky night emerged 10 to 12 ladies, wives of U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Duncan across the border in Texas. They were in search of food, and despite being closed and out of most food, Ignacio was a gentleman and went into the kitchen to see what he could fix up. He cooked up the tortilla chips, threw on some Wisconsin cheddar cheese until melted, added a few jalapeno slices, and thusly the meal was born.
Plus if you go by a quote from the 1949 food treatise A Taste of Texas :
"These Nachos ," said Pedro, "will help El Capitan - he will soon forget his troubles for nachos make one romantic."
Q: Are nachos Mexican?
A: This one is surprisingly controversial. Americans consider nachos Mexican, but Mexicans consider nachos American. They were invented in Mexico, by a Mexican, but for Americans. I would say that makes them Mexican, although many popular chefs, Rick Bayless and Anthony Bourdain for example, consider them American as they’re not “traditional” Mexican fare. I suppose it’s up to you to which nationality you feel they truly belong to.
Q: So, what's the deal with "Nacho Cheese"?
A: Ugh, I don’t even want to talk about it. Technically it’s unlikely that it can even be labeled cheese due to the amount of non-cheese additives, but here’s the legal definition of pasteurized processed cheese and pasteurized processed cheese food.
Pasteurized process cheese, which is made from one or more cheeses (excluding certain cheeses such as cream cheese and cottage cheese but including American cheese), and which may contain one or more specified "optional ingredients" (includes both dairy and nondairy items). Moisture and fat content percentage requirements vary according to standards for constituent cheeses, but in most cases fat content must be >47%.
Pasteurized process cheese food, which is made from not less than 51% by final weight of one or more "optional cheese ingredients" (similar to the cheeses available for Pasteurized process cheese) mixed with one or more "optional dairy ingredients" (milk, whey, etc.), and which may contain one or more specified "optional ingredients" (nondairy). Moisture must be <44%, and fat content >23%.
Add to this some peppers and other spices and you’ve got nacho “cheese”.
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