The Nacho Commandments

In the beginning, there were chips. Then, there was cheddar. Of course, it didn’t take a nacho scientist to spot the potential that this couple had, and their happy marriage has delighted many a weary burger burnout since.

But like any marriage, the relationship is built upon trust, and this trust is sometimes broken by well-intentioned restaurateurs who suck.

Folks, it’s just this simple:

1. Thou shalt not use deep-fried chips. Deep-fried tortilla chips, that oily-delicious treat served free of charge with salsa at most Mexican joints, has no place in the nacho. Now, I understand how they get there. Mexican restaurant owner thinks “OK, we need a nacho recipe. That requires chips, cheese and other savory morsels. Well, we have a whole bin of time-sensitive chips right here, so let’s get started.”


Your mistake is natural, but the combination of oily cheese, oily chicken, and oily chips makes a beast that is anything but natural. Like Zen, the perfect nacho combines the yin of greasy meat and cheese with the yang of crisp, absorbent chips, tomatoes, guacamole, et al. You wouldn’t make your nachos with potato chips, would you? As we say at, when “oil meets oil, good nachos are foiled; when oils meets crisp, the taste can’t be eclipsed.” Actually, we will probably never say that again.

2. Thou shalt not microwave thine nachos. You wouldn’t microwave your cat, would you? No, of course you wouldn’t, because the microwave is not the rightful place for a cat. Things that belong in the microwave are soup, water, and frozen dinners. Things that do not belong in the microwave are eggs, cats, and especially, nachos.

Let me explain. You see, when you remove the nachos from the microwave, there is a momentary illusion that time was saved and the nachos are just as delicious as their oven-baked counterpart. But the situation deteriorates faster than Jack Nicholas' love scene in The Shining. Within five minutes, the nachos, stuck together like a rat to a rattrap, cling to the plate relentlessly. If perchance you possess the Fingers of Life that can pry a nacho free of the mess, the situation remains dire. Chewing begins, and you find that that which you swear to have been previously-chewable tortillas now has all the edibility of cardboard soaked in superglue. Truly, there are no winners when the nacho meets the microwave. Don’t do it.

3. Thou shalt not forget the halfway point. So you avoided the first two nacho no-nos, and now your nachos are at least partially edible. Congratulations! Now is the time when the true soul of your nacho can shine through. But it doesn’t take a seasoned nacho know-it-all to tell you that matters can get messy in a hurry after the nacho façade has been penetrated. Like mom said, it is what’s inside the nacho that counts. Or was that Ron Jeremy? Anyway, don't be the heartless jerk who births a nacho that is empty inside, with no cheese, meat or beans to present to its committed eater. You’ve gotten your eater to the bridge, now take ‘em home with substance. You don’t need to throw a diamond ring in the middle or nothin' -- just more of the same cheese and meat that got the eater there in the first place.

Three steps. It is all that separates nacho nirvana from nach-oh god please let this madness end.