Mexico // The north //

The King of Nachos

Contrary to popular belief, that addictive combination of crispy tortilla chips and melted cheese – a staple snack all over the US and beyond – is not traditional Mexican food. Nachos were actually dreamt up in 1943 in Piedras Negras by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, allegedly whilst trying to feed a group of US army wives after hours. He was forced to cook up whatever he had left in the kitchen: essentially toasted tortillas, cheese and jalapeño peppers. The idea caught on, especially in Texas, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that “nachos” became popular throughout the US (it’s never had quite the same appeal in Mexico). When Anaya died in 1975 a bronze plaque in his memory was erected in Piedras Negras, and the town hosts an International Nacho Festival around October 21 each year. The two-day event features live music, art and a goofy attempt to make the world’s biggest nacho.

Sadly, the original nacho restaurant no longer exists, and the Moderno, where Anaya went on to work, closed in 2010.

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