In 1943, the women of several US troops stationed at Fort Duncan of Eagle Pass were out shopping in the Coahuila area of Northern Mexico when they arrived at the Victory Club restaurant, which was located in a hotel. Ignacio Anaya, the hotel’s manager was adamant about not letting them go without meals. As a result, he created a fresh snack for them using the few items that remained in the kitchen. He chopped and fried some tortilla chips, then topped them with shredded cheddar cheese and sliced jalapeno peppers and baked them for a few minutes. He then offered the women the innovative snack, which he named after his moniker — “nacho’s especiales.” The apostrophe was dropped over time, and Nacho’s “specials” became “special nachos.” Anaya subsequently worked at a modern restaurant in Piedras Negras that still maintains the same recipe for nachos.
Additionally, Anaya founded a restaurant in Piedras Negras called “Nacho’s Restaurant.” The original recipe may be found in ‘St. Anne’s Cookbook’ (1954). In commemoration of Anaya, October 21 was named ‘the International Day of the Nacho.’ Anaya died in 1975, but his son, Ignacio Anaya Jr. of Eagle Pass, continued the family history. In fact, Junior was a judge in the annual nacho tournament!
Spreading Throughout America
The dish began its journey in Mexico and continued across Texas and the Southwest. The person who made Nachos prominent in the States is Carmen Rocha, a waitress from San Antonio, Texas. She brought the dish to El Cholo Spanish Café. Not long after, in 1959, the dish became a regular in a Los Angeles branch of the café. It wasn’t long before the dish acquired prominence as a delicacy that may be served at the stadium during Monday Night Football games between the Baltimore Colts and Dallas Cowboys when sportscaster Howard Cosell made reference to the nachos throughout his broadcasts.
Numerous variants of the classic recipe have developed throughout time. Nowadays, a quartered or fried tostada topped with refried beans and/or different meats, shredded cheese, or nacho cheese, and habanero spicy sauce is also rather popular. Other non-traditional nacho versions include barbeque nachos and poutine nachos (in which cheddar cheese is replaced with cheese curds and gravy).