I have heard rumors that there are some rage filled people who will go online just to rail against the world. Everything they read on the internet infuriates them and causes them to write out poisonous screeds of the blackest vitriol. “What a bunch of nuts!” I thought. “I’ll never be that upset about anything to do such a thing!” I thought. That was a beautiful time in my life. Then one day I stumbled across an article entitled “Nachos Are Fundamentally Flawed”, and that was it for me.
The article was on the Philadelphia based site Foobooz, and I will admit it, I said some things and made some comments that now with a calmer head I regret, so mea culpa Foobooz. In a nutshell the author had a bunch of bad nachos and now is swearing off them. This in itself is one thing, but then they take the next step in saying that not only are they swearing off them, but also that nachos suck. Normally I can turn the other cheek when someone makes a comment I disagree with, but this was frankly beyond the pale.
Imagine you have never had sex before. Then the magical day comes when you finally get the chance, but right as you are about to climax someone hits you in the face with a hammer. If this was a one time event it would make a good story to tell at parties and all your other sexual experiences would be fine, but what if this happened every time? Chances are you might not like having sex if all your experiences were that terrible now would you? Or if you do I sure hope you like paying a counselor for how screwed up in the head you’re going to be, possibly due to the hammer blows.
If you are getting hit in the face with a metaphorical hammer every time you get nachos of course you aren’t going to like them, but that isn’t the fault of nachos, it’s the fault of the nacho maker who in this scenario also cooks them using a hammer, which is probably why they don’t taste great. The article makes many valid points regarding the state of nacho construction in restaurants; the distribution of toppings, layering and density, how whoever had the idea to put olives on nachos should be put before a firing squad, etc., but this is a problem on the restaurant’s end, not the meal known as nachos. I’m no scientist, but I know that if you start with flawed test subjects your experiment is going to be off, and friends, the “experiment” that nachos are flawed is right off.
Next to be addressed is the statement that chips and salsa is a much better snack than nachos, which, again, I must disagree. Vanilla is a perfectly fine ice cream flavor when you are a child, which is not a slam on children, their palettes just haven’t had the experiences with other flavors that you get when you age. How many adults though would rather take a Vanilla over a more complex Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough or a Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl? Sure, there are going to be a few, but there is a reason why Ben & Jerry’s has dozens upon dozens of flavors in addition to Vanilla. Chips and salsa is the Vanilla ice cream of Mexican food, absolutely nothing wrong with it, but as you experience more in life you want to experience more flavors in your foods, such as the blend of the six base tastes; Sweetness, Sourness, Saltiness, Bitterness, Umami, and Oleogustus. Bread is good, cheese is good, pepperoni is good, but what is much better is when you combine them all to make a pizza. Everything on nachos can be eaten by itself, but they’re much better together.
Finally we come to the classic canard that nachos aren’t Mexican, with a new twist/slam that since Ignacio Anaya wasn’t even a chef of course the dish he invented would be garbage. I’ve said it before (And you can read about it in the award winning The Field Guide to Nachos) and I’ll say it again, Nachos are Mexican. If famous Mexican Frida Kahlo paints a painting in Mexico for some Americans, the painting is still Mexican, and likewise if famous Mexican Ignacio Anaya makes a meal in Mexico for some Americans, the meal is still Mexican. I don’t know how this can be any clearer other than having Judge John Hodgman make a ruling on it, which believe you me I have already contacted about this very issue. Hasn’t American Colonialism already stolen enough awesome things from other countries? In a world where Donald Trump is single-handedly setting back Mexican-American relations acknowledging that nachos are Mexican is really the least we can do.
As for the dig that Ignacio Anaya isn’t even a chef and the implication that his meal should be ignored because of it, wow, I don’t think I have ever seen a horse as high as the one you’re on. This is the same mindset that the U.S. Navy had when they ignored Hedy Lamarr’s invention of a frequency-hopping system that would have made torpedos unjammable, because she was only an actress and not a serious inventor, resulting in the loss of countless American lives in World War 2. If the Navy had only checked its privilege this could have been avoided, and as this technology is the basis for GPS, Bluetooth, and modern cellphone technology maybe we would have had modern phones 20 years earlier. Good job.
Same issue here. GOD FORBID someone other than a chef invent a new meal! How on earth could a lowly maître d' ever do anything of note in the culinary world! Maybe if we all spent a little less time hanging out with Rick Bayless and Wolfgang Puck and entertained the impossible thought that even the “commoners” considered human garbage because they didn’t attend a culinary institute can make food that other humans might enjoy. Sorry we don’t all have golden finger bowls to wet out digits in while daintily eating our caviar stuffed lobster steaks 1% chefs, but our food creations are as valid as any other person.
So Foobooz, maybe calm down on your inflammatory nacho statements. You’ve had some bad nacho experiences, but you’ve got to get back up on that horse. Not the high horse I mentioned earlier either, the regular horse that is nachos. You’re Philly based, so check out two of the fine Philly based nacho review sites, I Enjoy Nachos or NachoJawn, and they can point you in the direction of a plate worth your while. You’ve been burnt, I get it, but you can learn to love again. No matter what happens nachos will always love you, and maybe, just maybe, if you try real hard, you can love them again too.