I was at work yesterday (that’s right folks, sadly nacho skills do not pay the nacho bills) at a party celebrating the end of the fiscal year when I heard some dialogue that disturbed me to the bone. Not having the time to bring in my custom nacho maker (Originally designed to be a stand alone pizza cooker, I modified it for my chip related needs) to make nachos there on the spot, I took the easy way out and just brought in some chips and queso fundido. It’s a good thing queso fundido is my favorite thing to eat after having my jaw drop, because one of the ladies there stated “Oh, you brought nacho.”
Record scratch noise. Jaw drop. What.
What made it worse was that the other people there concurred. I had brought in a bag of chips and a bowl of dip. I’m not sure exactly in what reality those two separate items are “nacho”, but certainly not the one where I am currently writing about nachos.Granted these ladies were somewhat older and things may have been different back in their days (Much like your grandparents, they are “set it their ways”, i.e. nachoist) but I was unaware of the levels of nacho ignorance that still existed today. Due to this shocking exchange I think some clarification is needed on exactly what are and what are not nachos.
CHIPS AND DIP ARE CHIPS AND DIP, THEY ARE NOT NACHOS
Dipping a tortilla chip into nacho cheese or salsa is no more a nacho then a potato chip inserted into french onion dip. Nachos are not served out of a bag, they are served off a plate. Nachos are chips that come with toppings, not chips you need to add toppings to. If you were even to try to dip some nachos, the act of turning the chip vertical in order to dip it would cause all the toppings to fall off. Moral is, if you use the verb “dip” referring to what you are doing with a chip, you don’t have nachos, and nachos should have nothing to do with the noun “dip” either. Sure, you could put the dip on a pile of chips, but...
CHIPS IN A PILE WITH DIP ON TOP ARE NOT NACHOS
They are a start to making nachos, but you need at least three ingredients to the meal. There are plenty of ways to make nachos, but based on Ignacio Anaya’s original recipe, the caveman of all future versions of the meal, you need the holy trinity; Chips, Cheese, and Jalapenos. now of course you don’t need those exact ingredients to make a delicious meal, and you are welcome to add many more, but the spirit of the original ingredients needs to be followed:
(1) Chips: Really any sort of starchy base will do, tortilla chips, potato chips, french fries, pita chips, crackers, etc.
(2) Cheese: Unless you’re lactose intolerant or a vegan, you really need to have cheese on the nachos, whether it be shredded or cheese sauce. If you do have problems with cheese, you need some sort of non-dairy cheese substitute. The only acceptable time to not not use a cheese product would be for dessert nachos.
(3) Jalapeno: You need at least one, preferably vegetable, topping. Of course there are some exceptions for chili nachos or BBQ nachos, but generally the more colorful you can make your dish via various toppings the better.
In short, one ingredient on chips doesn’t a nachos make, it takes two baby, just me and you.
COLD CHIPS + COLD TOPPINGS ARE NOT NACHOS, KIND OF
Lastly, to be TRUE nachos they need to be cooked, or at least have hot ingredients. This one is a little controversial as there are plenty of delicious things I’ve had that were just chips with ingredients on top of them that I would still consider nachos. Realistically this is just the cherry on top, but if you want to go with the true Anayan nacho experience, you’ve got to cook them.
So armed with the above knowledge the next time you are accosted by nacho ignorance hopefully you won’t descend into a mouth-clamped-shut-in-anger paroxysm of rage at the intolerance you just witnessed like me. You will be able to make a clear and concise statement educating the masses as to how incorrect they are when it comes to nachos. The common man and woman will think you, your clear soul will thank you, and nachos themselves will thank you.