Nachos & Border Amigos

American flags are out in full force this weekend – And thanks to Hurricane Earl passing off the coast, the red, white and blue, snapped proudly in the wind.

While I was taking photos, I noticed the juxtaposition of this flag and a sign that made me smile.

Okay, maybe I’m easily amused, but the way “NACHOS” is written up there, as if there is nothing more American than that, it made me happy.

Actually, if you’re interested to know, nachos have a good story behind them.

From Wikipedia: Nachos originated in the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, just over the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, at a restaurant called the Victory Club, owned by Rodolfo De Los Santos. One day in 1943, the wives of ten to twelve U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Duncan in nearby Eagle Pass were in Piedras Negras on a shopping trip, and arrived at the restaurant after it had closed for the day. The maître d’, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, invented a new snack for them with what little he had available in the kitchen: tortillas and cheese. Anaya cut the tortillas into triangles, added longhorn cheddar cheese, quickly heated them, and added sliced jalapeño peppers. He served the dish, calling it Nacho’s especiales – meaning something like “Nacho’s special dish” in Spanish.

Anaya went on to work at the Moderno Restaurant in Piedras Negras, which still uses the original recipe. He also opened his own restaurant, “Nacho’s Restaurant”, in Piedras Negras. Anaya’s original recipe was printed in the 1954 St. Anne’s Cookbook.

The popularity of the dish swiftly spread throughout Texas. The first known appearance of the word “nachos” in English dates to 1949, from the book A Taste of Texas. Waitress Carmen Rocha is credited with introducing the dish to Los Angeles at El Cholo Mexican restaurant in 1959.

So there you have it. Nachos may not have been invented without some hungry gringas and an ingenious Mexican. You see, gente? This is what can happen when we all try to get along.


  1. Love the history nugget!! I never knew. It always seemed odd to me to call the tasty snack after someone- Nacho. Whenever we inform our none Spanish speaking friends that Nacho is a nickname, they are amused and surprised. Thanks for sharing!

    • @ pol – Good for you! … I don’t own a tortilla press either. Suegra doesn’t use one because the tortillas from El Salvador are typically thicker anyway. (To Mexicans, her “tortillas” are actually what they call “gorditas”).

      I prefer them thinner though and usually just buy thin flour and corn pre-made tortillas and then warm/toast them on the comal (griddle).

    • El Gallo = The Rooster
      Change the ending to “-ito” makes it = The Little Rooster
      Tienda = Store

      And so you have…
      The Little Rooster Store :)

      Note: Gallo (Rooster) I have also seen used to refer to proud/cocky/macho/alpha males.

      Note #2: The salsa known as “pico de gallo” means “Rooster beak”, if you’re interested in why, you can check out the etymology on Wikipedia:

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