November 6th is National Nachos Day. The International Nacho Festival is October 13-15 and October 21 is International Day of the Nacho.
Nachos is a Mexican dish made with tortilla chips covered with melting cheese. This simple snack can be made into a meal with the addition of meats and beans. More elaborate versions add more ingredients and can be served as a main dish.
Nachos have been around since 1943. The dish originated Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, just over the border from Eagle Pass, Texas. The wives of U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Duncan (Eagle Pass) were in Piedras Negras on a shopping trip. They arrived at a restaurant after it had already closed for the day. The maître d’hôtel, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, whipped up a quick snack for them with what little he had on hand: tortillas and cheese. Anaya cut the tortillas into triangles, added shredded cheddar cheese, quickly heated them, and added sliced pickled jalapeño peppers. He called it Nacho’s especiales.
The popularity of the dish spread throughout Texas and the Southwest. The first known appearance of the word “nachos” in English dates to 1950, from the book A Taste of Texas. Anaya went on to work at the Moderno Restaurant in Piedras Negras, which still uses his original recipe. Anaya also opened his own restaurant, “Nacho’s Restaurant”, in Piedras Negras. His original recipe was printed in the 1954 St. Anne’s Cookbook.
Ignacio Anaya died in 1975. In his honor, a bronze plaque was erected in Piedras Negras, and October 21 was declared the International Day of the Nacho. The International Nacho Festival is held between October 13 and 15 at Piedras Negras and features a “biggest nacho of the world” contest which is registered with the Guinness World Records.
Why November 6th is National Nachos Day is unknown.
image courtesy of Jon Sullivan, Wikimedia.org.