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International Day of the Nacho

Nachos trace their roots to the border of Mexico and Texas. One day in 1943, the wives of ten U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Duncan in Eagle Pass, Texas, crossed the border into Piedras Negras, Mexico. When they stopped to eat at Club Victoria, chef Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya threw together a snack to give them—made with broken up tortillas, melted cheese, and jalapeño peppers—and called it "Nachos Especiales." In 1954, his recipe was published in St. Anne's Cookbook, by the Church of the Redeemer in Eagle Pass, suggests the women had brought the recipe back over the border.

International Day of the Nacho started in 1995, when the government tourism office in the Mexican state of Coahuila—where Piedras Negras is located—made a formal decree for the day, and acknowledged Anaya as the creator of the nacho. A bronze plaque was installed in his honor, and his son was on hand to judge a nachos cook-off. The competition became an annual event, and part of Nachos Fest, which is held in Piedras Negras in October each year.

There are many variations of nachos. "Ballpark nachos"—covered with jalapeños and melted cheese, not far removed from Igancio's original recipe—were invented by Sal and Margarita Manriquez, and are now popular at sports stadiums. Sal Manriquez started selling them as "Margarita's State Fair Nachos" at the State Fair in Dallas in 1964, and in 1975 asked to sell them at Arlington Stadium, where the Texas Rangers then played. Manriquez was turned down and later found out that the stadium was selling a version of his nachos anyway.

Nachos with a lot of toppings are often called "loaded nachos" or "super nachos." They are usually served as an appetizer at bars or restaurants but are often seen as a meal in and of themself. Chips are placed on a platter, and meat, refried beans, and shredded cheese are put on top. The cheese is melted, and then cold toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa are added on top. Barbecue nachos are popular in Memphis, Tennessee, which include barbecued pork shoulder and barbecue sauce. Kalua pork and pineapple nachos are popular in Hawaii. There are countless other variations of nachos that can be made.

How to Observe International Day of the Nacho

Celebrate the day by eating nachos! You could make Anaya's original "Nachos Especiales" or one of many other recipes. You could go to a sporting event and eat ballpark nachos or get them at a restaurant. If you are really ambitious, you could attend Nachos Fest, which is held around this time in Piedras Negras, where Anaya invented nachos. You could also look for the bronze plaque that was put up there in his honor.

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