Some immigrants come by plate

Just across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, a booming metropolis of 26,255 in 2010, is the Mexican city of Piedras Engrams, a town of 163,000.  (Piedras Negras translates as “black stones” for the coal in the area.)  In 1943, a collection of wives of military personnel stationed at Fort Duncan in Eagle Pass were in Piedras Negara’s and went into a restaurant for lunch. The restaurant was closed but the maître d’hôtel agreed to serve the ladies anyway.  He put together what he had for a snack: tortillas cut into triangles and fried then topped with grated cheddar cheese.  He heated the snack and then tossed on pickled jalapeño peppers. The women loved the meal and asked what they were.  The maître d’hôtel, whose name was Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, said they were his specialty, “Nacho’s especiales.”

It did not take long for “Nacho’s especiales” to become simply “nachos.” They were a big hit across the border and were soon being sold during games at the Arlington Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  Then they were called “ballpark nachos.” Nachos went national big time on September 4, 1978, during the Monday Night Football clash between the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Colts.  Howard Cosell had some during the game and used the name of the munchie in his broadcast.  That night and for weeks. The rest, as they say, is history. [See my books at www.authormasterminds.com.]

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