Monday, October 1, 2012

UnRecipe: Nacho, Nacho Man... I Want to Be a Nacho Man...

The ability to endlessly drop quotes from The Simpsons is like a superpower. A lame, proof-of-no-social-life superpower that would likely not get any consideration from the Justice League if they were ever taking resumes. But my lame superpower is a real thing. Because I was singing Homer Simpson's "Nacho Man" song (to be sung in the tune of The Village People's "Macho Man," if you didn't already suss that out) in a constant loop while I was making a heaping plate of nachos not long ago. It also helped that I had the power of Duffman with me, because I was a little tipsy at the time. More like drunk as a skunk, and it was all for the sake of a social experiment, proving why nachos are the Perfect Food. Because be you blissfully inebriated or stone-cold sober, you can't get them wrong. Bless you, Nachos. Bless you.

The "control" part of the experiment - Sober Nachos - Photo by Wasabi Prime
I've never claimed to be the Queen of Intelligent Decision-making Skills. In fact, I somewhat relish the messy imperfections of life, a la 30 Rock's Liz Lemon, or a marathon of Chelsea Handler rants because I appreciate people -- women, especially; even TV characters -- who just fumble through life and just say whatever they're going to say. Cluttered, sloppy anarchy appeals to me. I love Martha Stewart crafts and the picturesque lives portrayed on other blogs, and I stare at them dreamily as I drink the last few guzzles of wine straight from the bottle because dammit, I just don't want to wash another glass. "Perfect" is a tricky word. It's as subjective as ice skating or child beauty pageants or any number of annoyingly loathsome things. But I dared to seek out Perfection when I had the monster-craving for nachos after a particularly long day and a thankful abundance of fresh produce.

Salsa that isn't made in New York City (New York City?! Get a rope.) - Photos by Wasabi Prime
As mentioned before, this was an experiment of sorts, where there were two Nacho Sessions: one platter where the ingredients were carefully selected and crafted with care, and a second platter where Duffman thrusted in my general direction with boozeahol and I attempted to make another nacho platter while completely drunkfaced. It all started out with a can't-go-wrong base: homemade salsa. I had a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, a red onion, fresh cilantro, tangerines, mangoes -- boom, into the salsa party they went, chop-chop-chop. It takes a few hours, or even better, overnight, for the salsa to really come together in terms of flavor. It was great on its own with some plain tortilla chips, but I knew the citrusy-fresh salsa would be dynamite with a cheesy nacho platter. 

Fresh salsa and chips - had to taste-test to make sure it was good, right? - Photos by Wasabi Prime
So I constructed the Nacho Perfection in a clear-headed state, using the fresh salsa and making a batch of white cheddar cheese sauce, versus shreds of cheese. Fancy, no? But worth it, because the fondue-like sauce won't set up like tree sap once it starts to cool, and being more viscous, it drips and oozes through the layers of piled-up chips. Sexy, right? To really get the ideal salsa/topping-to-corn chip ratio, it's better to spread a layer of chips, then the salsa, then another layer of chips over that, and so on. Gravity will ensure the cheese sauce gets to where it needs to go. A finish of chopped fresh avocado over the top, and it's true Nacho Perfection down to a science. I loved every bite of it and wondered, why don't I make this more often? To which my sober mind ruefully answered: because you'll get huge, stupid. Better go for a run after this. Damn you, Common Sense. Damn you to hell.

My momentary junk food high got me thinking, what is it about corn chips doused with cheese and a random smattering of vegetables that really speaks to the teenage stoner in all of us? I think that sentence sort of answers itself. But there is a casual comfort in eating a literal pile of food on a plate with your fingers.  It's meant to look like a mess, fancying it up would be missing the point, there's an endless number of customizations and it's the food you overdosed on in college because it was super-easy to make in the microwave, especially after a raging kegger. And it always tasted good, that mixture of gooey cheese, crispy chips, salty-salty madness. And even when the cheese cooled, forming a Nacho Pangea of chips and solidified fake cheddar, you just ate it like a pizza before passing out on the couch.

Sobriety, Interrupted. The Drunk Nacho Experiment with equally delicious results - Photo by Wasabi Prime
Those blissful memories of my early twenties and a much more efficient metabolism were with me when I had a brewski or twoski. Or maybe it was wine. Or liquor. I lost track. It was for SCIENCE, I told myself. And then I thought of that Simpsons episode where Homer is at a baseball game and gets a giant sombrero-top hat hybrid made out of corn chips, where the top is full of liquid cheese, and the idea is you break off a bit of the brim, dip into your cheesy hat-bowl, and enjoy, whilst singing "Nacho Man." You can't make this stuff up. This is why The Simpsons is a treasure for our troubled age. So that was in my head while I tipsily threw together a second batch of nachos, this time with the addition of bacon. Because I wanted to reserve the bacon fat. Because I wanted to use it to make a batch of cheese sauce, but with the power of bacon. Because... because... I love you, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan... *burp*

The Drunk Nachos weren't as prettily put together. The bacon got a little burned. The cheese sauce was a little grainy. The settings on the camera were out of sorts. But by golly, the nachos were still delicious. Imagine a BLT version of nachos. The leftover salsa made it in there somewhere, but this version was mostly cheese, due to my overeager drunkenness. I didn't care, my tastebuds rejoiced and I had a satisfyingly indulgent dinner where my Common Sense Inner Voice was rufie-d silent from laying an exercise guilt trip on me. As Homer would say: Beer... now there's a temporary solution.

Admit it, you want to be a Nacho Man, or possibly Duffman - Photos by Wasabi Prime
What did this prove beyond my love of The Simpsons, alcohol and cheese-covered corn chips? Not much, but I was pleased to test the unbreakable power of nachos. Promises get broken, civilizations fall, but know that Nachos are Forever.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Commentary encouraged. Fresh baked cookies, super-encouraged. (hit the 'post comment' button twice, sometimes it's buggy)