Random & Reviews

27 Points: Ultimate Nachos

1. “These Nachos will help El Capitan—soon he will forget his troubles for nachos make one romantic.” A Taste of Texas, 1949.

2. Started as obsession, to blog, to book. I often enjoy when blogs spawn books. You sometimes retain that energy, the flux of, and I think the book strives for this–it wants to be fun. One aspect of nachos is that spontaneity. Homage to the history of nachos is not just the oral or written record. Nachos transcend that accounting. We must also bring forth the culture, the aura, the thing behind the thing.

nachos book 2

3. I preordered the book, as is my way, and it was delivered yesterday as the rain ran little horses across my roof. I ate nachos for lunch and dinner and then opened the book, read it all, typed about it here (following breakfast nachos? No. I don’t eat breakfast). The book is refined. The book is a bit of a creed, clearly an attempt to elevate nachos. This is a good and bad thing, me feels. (See above concerning the cultivation of nacho mythos, silliness/solemnity, direction, soar and science and folklore and seasoning.)

4. Nacho Vidal, the porn actor, is known for his extremely large penis. Especially its girth. (16.5 centimeters in circumference!) But I digress.

5. Ginger!

6. There are rules. Rule # 1: Nachos are not tortilla chips. #4: Nachos are not served on apple slices. # 9: Get down and dirty. Mostly I agreed with the rules, and found some helpful clarifications concerning nachos, though a few of these guidelines were a bit elitist. They argue against a “mountain of nachos” and once they say, “Nachos are not an excuse to clean your refrigerator. That’s plain old gross.” No, actually it isn’t. Let’s not forget that nachos have a simmering of scoundrel within their essence. While I’m all for super fresh homemade bon vivant nachos, I also feel it’s OK to go janky, to dump whatever—jalapenos, old, crusty black beans, leftover taco sauce—on top and crack open an Icehouse and watch some helicopter crash videos on YouTube.

6.5. The book pays rightful respect by including the original (1943) recipe. Well done.

7. Sort of cool (or uncool?) that Howard Cossell had such a role in nacho history.

8. I am for a certain shade of elitism when it comes to chips. NO to ROUND. NO to silly strips and other Applebee’s world gimmicks. As for the flavored chip? Jesus. As our lady Linda Ronstadt once directed us, “You’re no good.” The authors are cool with store-bought chips, and so am I (though there are stipulations–much too much to go into here…). Fortunately, the authors also include a simple, useful recipe on how to make your own chips. They are very good.

9. I feel like I am the person to review this book. And not the person to review this book. But that’s true of everyone about everything.

raccoon nachos

10. Then we move to salsas, guacs (a bit too much on guac, but it’s sort of their thing), cheese sauces. I appreciate how we get foundational before spiraling off into the perdurable cosmos of nachos. There are some real gems here.

11. At one point we are told to always eat nachos with our hands. At one point we are told to break out a knife and a fork. I’d like to see MORE of this contradiction. The beauty of nachos lies within its own incongruities.

12. Directions are very clear. Some of these recipes could be intimidating, but I think they’d all be easy to make. This is VERY much in the spirit of nachos.

13. Nacho fact! On April 8, 2010, a Texas church assembled 2 tons of nachos. Why? To break a world record. Also: “We want to show that you don’t have to be stiff and starchy to love God,” said Assistant Pastor Chris Lindberg. This is a really stupid-ass quote from preacher man, BTW. Nachos should be stiff and starchy, if made correctly. Whenever churches do things like this, I wonder what book they read, but I digress. No word on if they invited the homeless to dine (but I digress). Sorry, I digress.


14. Personally, I like any nachos with legs. If you make nachos, and someone takes a big bite and they smile and slug their beer a bit and then say, “Man, those nachos have legs…” well, you have made some damn fine nachos.

15. Under the DRINKS section, I’d just put a large, bullet-strewn sign saying BEER, though I can see the margarita. You start putting habanera in there, and I can REALLY see the margarita.

15.5. But, yeh, beer. I mean it’s the carbonation off the seasonings. The cool off the hot.

nacho bar mm

16. You can almost feel the hangover kicking in, can’t you?

16.5. I really think dessert nachos are not nachos, but I do see why they are included (one of the writers bakes cupcakes for a living).

17. I’m sorry we don’t have a DFW reference yet. Not trying to make you drop your coffee! Here you go, from “Ticket to the Fair”: This is the Midwest: no nachos, no chili, no Evian, nothing Cajun.

18. I would like to make up a term: sponging. Sponging is when you wait too long—for whatever reason (adultery, a sedative, a windblown kite, a simple bath, etc.)—between creation of nachos and ingestion of nachos. The chips are flaccid, mealy, damp and damned. In a word, sponged.

19. Fried Calamari nachos!

19.5. One of the top nachos fails of all time is iceberg lettuce. (Crisp chips make lettuce redundant.)

20. Included are vegetarian and meat recipes—good job. A common misnomer is that nachos MUST have meat.

20.5. The re-working of ballpark nachos is a good compromise for the vision of the book. They recognize the lineage, and then go their thesis: fresh ingredients, lively garnishes, care.

21. The food porn pics are good, though very polished, almost to a fault, especially for nachos. In a way, at times this book seems to want to save nachos from nachos…

nachos 62

22. Beets make a wonderful addition to nachos. (This I did not know! This I am going to try out.)

23. Autumnal nachos! (In the fall, after you have finished raking the leaves…)

24. Candied Jalapenos! WTF?

25. There is an audacity here I enjoy.There is a verve.

26. So, I think this is almost a sub-genre of nachos. A bit Highfalutin, but then eager to redeem itself with nacho history and respect, and nacho simplicity (can’t wait to attempt some of the salsa and sauces). I’m going to make several of these, no doubt, but wonder if this book needs a ganglier, gnarly companion, like “Motel Nachos” or “Reheated Nachos” or “Fat Man at a Cardinals Game Nachos” or “Nachos You Can eat Off the Floor,” etc. In the end, I don’t think it is the ULTIMATE nachos book, but I think it’s a very worthy cookbook to add to your nacho collection.

27. Most importantly to the genre, I am hungry.

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  1. Jeremy Bauer

      i think most things need ganglygnarly companions. first, balloons, but mostly foods and technologies.

  2. Sophie Summertown Grimes › Poetry Made of Lemurs

      […] Sean is a wonderful writer. He also has, as he told me at the reading, “sort of a thing for nachos.” And Velveeta, which became clear when he concluded by reading a numbered piece about […]