Some folks claim that Frito pie was invented at the Woolworth’s dime store on the Plaza in Santa Fe. The claim is disputed by other pretenders to the throne, and there is no reliable provenance that establishes the claims of anyone. The Woolworth’s store is long shuttered; it has been supplanted by the Five and Dime that tries hard to be a realistic facsimile. The important thing to know is that the Five and Dime continues to sell Frito pie, and the tourists love it.
Not everyone thinks it is good stuff. Anthony Bourdain visited Santa Fe a couple of years ago to tape a segment for his television show. He made hurtful comments including the assertion that the chili came from a can. That offended the owners of the store who insisted that the chili was made fresh every day. They wrote to the editors of the local newspaper demanding that Bourdain make a public apology. To my knowledge, Anthony Bourdain never responded. Probably not a big deal. The dish remains as popular as ever with tourists wandering the Plaza.
The original (??) recipe for this delicacy is quite simple: Tear open a bag of Fritos. Ladle in some chili. Be careful not to overflow the bag as it can get messy. Top with cheese and onions. Stick a plastic spoon in the opening of the bag and serve with a good supply of napkins. Delicious. Just be sure to have a roll of Tums at the ready.
- bag(s) Fritos (original style preferred)
- hot chili (see previous post)
- grated Cheddar cheese
- scallions, chopped (use regular onion if you prefer)
- cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)
- Open the bag. You may chose to tear off or cut off the top of the bag. Alternatively, cut or tear an X-shaped hole in the side of the bag, folding back the flaps to make an impromptu bowl.
- Ladle in enough chili to cover the corn chips. Sprinkle on generous amounts of cheese, scallions, and optional cilantro.
- Eat while still hot.