Sometimes they’re hot and spicy. Sometimes they’re cheesy. Sometimes they make a mess everywhere. But one thing is certain: they’re delicious, and a favorite in many parts of the world!
Yes, we’re talking about nachos. What food deserves its own holiday more than nachos? From the kitchens of Texas to the Rose Bowl Stadium, nachos have more than earned their fame.
And their own day, which is, of course, National Nachos Day. Get ready to celebrate!
History of National Nachos Day
The story goes that the origin of Nachos can be traced back to Piedras Negras, Mexico, just across the border from the state of Texas in the USA. In fact, the situation was sort of a fluke, which is how a lot of delicious things get discovered.
One day in 1943, when the wives of some American soldiers stationed nearby came into his restaurant, the man running the place, whose name was Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, had to make them something to eat. The problem was that it was late in the evening, and already a few minutes past closing time, so there wasn’t much left in the kitchen! Since Ignacio really didn’t have enough ingredients left over to make any real, full dish, he put together a conglomeration of what he did have: a few tortillas, some shredded cheese, and some pickled jalapeno peppers.
Getting creative, “Nacho” cut up the tortillas into pieces, sprinkled what else he had over them, and baked them for a few minutes to melt the cheese before serving them. The women greatly enjoyed this little snack, and when they asked Ignacio what it was called, he answered “Nacho’s Especiales”.
Word of this hot new snack traveled fast from the army wives and back through Texas and the Southwestern parts of North America! Ignacio Anaya, himself, went on to work at the Moderno Restaurant in Piedras Negras, which still uses the original recipe to this day.
The man even opened his own restaurant later on, called “Nacho’s Restaurant”, which was in Piedras Negras as well. Not only that, but Anaya’s original Nachos recipe was printed in the 1954 St. Anne’s Cookbook. This was a fairly important discovery–even if it was a bit of an accident.
A few years later, a modified version of the original dish, with cheese sauce and prepared tortilla chips was marketed in 1976 by businessman Frank Liberto during various sporting events taking place in Arlington, Texas. This version became known as “ballpark nachos”.
Nachos can be baked or not. Simple or loaded. Served hot or cold. Piled with beans and peppers and meat. But, no matter how they are served and eaten, Nachos are certainly worthy of celebration and adoration on this day!
How to Celebrate National Nachos Day
Celebrating National Nachos Day can be loads of fun! Try out these ideas or come up with some creative ideas of your own:
Go Out for Nachos
Many restaurants have some version of Nachos on the menu today, in Mexican, Tex-Mex and other style restaurants. Head on out to a restaurant (or ball park!) that serves them and get a tasty pile of tortilla chips drenched with cheese and deliciousness.
Enjoy Nachos in Piedras Negras
For an authentic way to enjoy National Nachos Day, head on down to the place where it all started–the restaurants in Piedras Negras, Mexico. Of course, Ignacio Anaya probably won’t be there anymore, but his memory is. Head over to the Moderno Restaurant where Anaya used to work, or enjoy them at just about any restaurant in the town.
Those who are dedicated to the cause might even want to time it so that they can join in on the International Nachos Festival that takes place in this town. They even have a contest for the Biggest Nacho in the WOrld, which was at one point registered in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Throw a National Nachos Day Party
Grab some bags of chips and toppings, and get ready to have a National Nachos Day Party! It’s a super-easy way to enjoy the day. Go all out with the theme by decorating with pinatas and other south-of-the-border decors. Then, invite guests to dress up in their favorite Mexican sombreros, serapes, or costumes. It will be a delightful reason to celebrate–and eat tons of delicious nachos.
Watch Nacho Libre
A silly movie that is filled with ridiculous antics (as most films including Jack Black are) this one follows the main character, Ignacio (played by Black). He is a Catholic monk who loves lucha libre, and even secretly moonlights as a freestyle wrestler.
The movie doesn’t have a whole lot to do with actual Nachos, except for the name of the main character. But grabbing a few friends, piling up a plate full of nachos and watching the film together would be a great way to celebrate!
Make a Nachos Recipe
Obviously, there is no better way to celebrate National Nachos Day, than to cook up some good old-fashioned nachos on your own. Granted, there are many varieties and toppings, but here is a simple yet delicious recipe for homemade nachos:
- 1 large (10-12 oz) bag of corn or tortilla chips
- 8 oz Jack cheese
- 8 oz Cheddar cheese
- A large jar of your favorite salsa
- A handful of pickled jalapeno slices
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. You could use a microwave, but the chips get much crispier from being in a real oven. Arrange the chips in an oven-safe dish. Spread the chips out–the more you spread them out, the more room there’ll be for cheese and the less “disappointing” nachos there will be with next to nothing on them.
Next, grate the cheese, and mix both kinds well. Spread the grated cheese evenly over the chips. Spoon the salsa over the cheese-covered ships, and then sprinkle the jalapeno slices overtop of everything. Bake until the cheese has melted and starts bubbling, about 10-12 minutes, taking care to make sure the nachos do not start burning around the edges.
After you remove them from the oven, WAIT about 1 minute before you dig in. It may seem torturously difficult to wait, but waiting is still much better than burning your mouth, tongue and throat with nearly boiling cheese. Serve while still very warm, and enjoy!