Which popular snack, made with tortilla chips, was invented by Ignacio Anaya García?

And the answer: nachos.
Photo credit: chee.hong

Nachos are named for their inventor, Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya García. Ignacio worked at the Victory Club as a hotel manager in the border city of Piedras Negras, in Coahuila, Mexico. He threw together fried corn tortilla chips, Colby cheese, slices of pickled jalapeños, and heated them in the oven. His guests loved it and called the snack, "Nacho’s Special." And so, in 1940, nachos were born.    

Naturally, like all other fried, delicious foods, nachos were an immediate hit in the United States. In 1949, the dish was first mentioned in English print in a cookbook that gave credit to the original creator. By the 1970s, nachos had become very popular in the United States, though they had lost the apostrophe in “Nacho’s especiales” and were still mostly found in Mexican restaurants. The dish underwent a significant change when Frank Liberto, a third-generation concession vendor, Americanized the product to suit it for outings to the movie theater, ballpark or any other social event. By ladling liquid "nacho cheese" onto chips in a paper bowl, the snack became more versatile and discreet— perfect for a stadium. Ultimately, this further Americanization was a smash, going on to outsell popcorn in Arlington nearly 10 to one.

Interestingly, García never actually sought ownership over his invention. In 1960, his son made efforts to explore the possibility to no avail— too much time had passed since its invention. Thankfully for everyone else, though, this meant that the recipe was free for the public to use and adapt. Today, nachos can take on many different forms, including nacho lasagna, chocolate nachos, and even spicy nacho-flavored beer (but here's to hoping that nacho cheese plays no role in that last one). Although the original recipe is rigid, modern takes can be a lot more creative.

Learn more about the history of this tasty snack here.

Question of the Day Mobile App


Learn something new everyday. Get the Question of the Day delivered to your inbox each day!

You've successfully subscribed to Question of the Day
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Question of the Day
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.