On this day in 1895, Mexican culinary innovator Ignacio Anaya García was born, whose proper name is not as familiar as his nickname: “Nacho,” a common abbreviation for Ignacio. As shown in today’s Doodle, illustrated by Mexico City-based guest artist Alfonso de Anda, this particular Nacho revolutionized world cuisine by melting grated Wisconsin cheese over some jalapeno slices and totopos (tortilla chips), thus inventing the dish he dubbed Nachos especiales.
The year was 1943, and García was working as Maître d' at Club Victoria, a popular restaurant in the border town of Piedras Negras, Coahuila. A group of American women, wives of soldiers stationed at nearby Eagle Pass Army Airbase, stopped in asking for a snack. Unable to find a chef, García took matters into his own hands, improvising the tasty treat much to his customers’ delight.
Word soon spread about the Nachos especiales, which were added to the Club Victoria menu, imitated around town, and written up in an American cookbook as early as 1949. By 1960, García had opened his own restaurant, El Nacho.
In the 76 years since their invention, nachos have spread all over the world. A mass-produced version was introduced in 1976 at Arlington Stadium in Texas, with liquefied cheese sauce pumped out of large cans. Stadiums were quickly selling more nachos than popcorn.
Although García refused to patent his creation—“It's just a snack to keep my customers happy and well-fed,” he reportedly said, “It's like any other border dish”—his name has gone down in history. Each October, Piedras Negras hosts the International Nacho Festival, and the town has erected a plaque in his honor, a fitting memorial to one man’s delicious legacy.
Guest Artist Q&A with Alfonso de Anda
Today's Doodle was created by Mexico City-based guest artist Alfonso de Anda. Below he shares his thoughts on the making of the Doodle:
Q: Why was this topic meaningful to you personally?
A: This topic was meaningful to me at a gut level, quite literally.
Q: What were your first thoughts when you were approached about the project?
A: Making a Doodle has been in my illustration bucket list for a while now, so I was instantly stoked when I read the email. It was such a nice way to start the day.
Q: Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for this Doodle?
A: There isn't a whole lot of information on Ignacio, so I shifted my focus onto the dish itself. My approach was very straightforward; imagining Ignacio making his first plate of nachos while implicitly communicating a sense of fun.
Q: What message do you hope people take away from your Doodle?
A: I hope people get an instant crave for a snack after they see the Doodle. I also hope that they instantly drop whatever it is they're doing and satisfy that craving.
Concept sketches by guest artist Alfonso de Anda