We all remember the seventies right? The Franco-Prussian War, the Invention of the Phonograph, Lewis Carroll publishing Through the Looking-Glass, the extinction of the Atlas Bear. Wild times. Oh, wait, you meant the 1970’s? Well, I’m not exactly sure what happened then, um, probably some wars in the Middle East, that’s a safe bet. Some president did some things that some Americans liked and others didn’t? Oh, and nachos got a bad rap I’m sure they didn’t deserve, that’s a guarantee.
Due to some recent nachovestigative journalism by Peter Hartlaub at SFGate a recipe has been uncovered from the depths of the San Francisco Chronicle’s 1977 food section. In a time when the height of food presentation was to embedding it in jello or aspic, sometimes foods were just downgraded from their original form to something much lamer. Take the below for example:
In a country still reeling from the introduction of the Concession Nachos at Arlington Stadium a year prior, this recipe goes one step further towards the decline of nachos in America. Even Carmena Rocha’s influence in bringing nachos to California wasn’t able to make it the almost 400 miles north to save San Francisco from the taint of this “nacho” horror. As you can see, while Peter modifies the recipe some, cutting the tortilla into 8 pieces rather than 4, the results are still unimpressive at best.
Now, the closest thing to nachos these could possibly come to is Single Serving Nachos, and those are typically a fancier than normal version of a chip with something on it to make up for the lack of the nacho pile. These are not fancy in any sense of the word. It is as though the author of the recipe had just heard of nachos as “some chips with cheese on top” and interpreted that as “take a chip and put a piece of cheese on top of it” rather than “put the chips in a pile and then shred up the cheese, sprinkling it all over the pile of chips so that they are adequately covered”. These hardly even meet the spirit of the food as you can make a lot of things with the same ingredients, the key is how you put them together, and these are just barely put together in a nacho fashion.
There was never before, nor hopefully will be again, a darker time for nachos than the late 70’s. Between the death of Ignacio Anaya, the introduction of Concession Nachos, and dark figures on Nazgul-birds roaming the land spreading misconceptions about the food, it was a true age of unenlightenment. Fortunately Peter uncovered another nacho recipe from two years later that offers a little more hope. And a lot more crabs.
So thank you SFGate, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and more importantly Peter and his son (Seriously, check out the article) for unearthing and trying this questionable piece of nacho history. Perhaps though, like the undersea island tomb of a dead alien god or one of those London plague pits, history like this is better left undiscovered. And if discovered, definitely untasted.