If you’ve been on the internet at all this week chances are you encountered this picture from a time when the Baltimore Orioles baseball team had to define to their stadium patrons what nachos were. I know, talk about the dark ages, but this artifact doesn’t lie, pics or it didn’t happen and all that. How could such a thing as people not knowing what nachos were be?
It’s sad to admit it but as little a time ago as 1980, when the game program from which this picture came was from, nachos were still somewhat unknown. While Monday Night Football announcer Howard Cosell brought nachos to mainstream popularity in ‘78, they had been in stadiums across the Southwest for a few years earlier, but hadn’t spread to much of the rest of the country outside the desert states. I know, it’s sad that nachos weren’t even a popular item across the country until the mid 80’s, almost forty years after Ignacio’s creating, but what’s even sadder is that their definition of nachos here is terrible.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines nachos as “tortilla chips topped with melted cheese and often additional savory toppings (as hot peppers or refried beans)” which while rather succinct is much better than “something like a taco”. Like. A. Taco. Now I’ll be the first to admit that there isn’t a huge variety between the ingredients of most Mexican foods, but a taco is as close to nachos as a burrito is to a taco, that being only kinda sorta. Really it’s like a taco that you smashed up, but I’m sure the stadium version of nachos wouldn’t have nearly as many tasty ingredients as a mashed up taco. You might as well have just left the description as “A crispy, tasty Mexican treat”.
Also only referring to them as the singular “nacho” instead of the plural “nachos” make them seem more like they’re a singular chip thing instead of a pile of chips. You don’t go out and order nacho with friends, you order some nachos, and you all love them. I realize that the nacho/nachos is a common mistake/pet peeve, but way to make it sound even less like you know what you’re talking about.
And what’s with pairing nachos with tropical fruit punch? All Mexican food is better with a margarita, and since I’m sure stadiums weren’t serving those in the 80’s, is fruit punch the next best thing? Personally I enjoy a good Woodchuck Hard Cider Belgian White, but to each their own apparently. Punch definitely belongs more with Chinese food than Mexican however, but serving Chinese at a stadium would be beyond the pale.
Also nobody spell checked the New Taste Treat section as the “e” in “something” is missing.
So at one time nachos were a mystery, but that’s ok because we also used to think that the world was flat and that you got sick when your four humors were out of balance. We live, we learn, mysteries are revealed and are no longer mysterious, and things that were once strange and new become common. I like that there was a time when nachos were the newest thing on the block and everyone was experiencing their magnificence for the first time, but the world is definitely a far better place with them all around us.