Monday, October 14, 2013

I'm About To Gross You Out - Frito Pie, Yo!

I have this weird rule that I try to eat cold foods in the summer and warm/hot foods in the fall/winter. In other words, you probably won't find me eating soup in July. This is in part of the few years I spent in college in Arizona and returned decades later to AZ with my family. So, now that the weather has had significant shifts in all parts of the country, nothing says fall to me better than chili (well, actually nothing says fall like apple or pumpkin pie, fried chicken and hearty, home-cooked meals).

Recently Mr. Challenge and I caught Anthony Bourdain's new show, Parts Unknown, now on CNN. This time he is off to New Mexico. If you didn't catch it or heard about the bru-haha on the news, then here's the deal. Apparently, Mr. Bourdain upset the New Mexican's by claiming that Frito Pie was indeed a Texas thing. He had recently eaten at the Five & Dime General Store in New Mexico's historic tourist district, and criticized the recipe and ingredients. Mr. Challenge and I have actually been there several years back while crossing this great country of ours on our way back to Chicago. Anyway, he apparently insulted the recipe and the state who created it. Five and Dime shot back and the production team and Mr. Bourdain acknowledged the mistake and apologized. He also actually enjoyed this delightful delicacy.

But then, Mr. Challenge and I were obsessing (there's that word again) about Frito Pie. One time when we had lived in Chicago, there was a restaurant call Chili 5 Ways. Basically it was a chili storefront where you could walk in, pick you chili base and add a variety of topping including cheese, sour cream, corn chips, onion and elbow macaroni. No one, however, makes chili like I DO and then we add the similar toppings. Frito Pie is different. I remember it being concocted with canned chili, orange cheddar cheese, sour cream and of course, Fritos. So, we took it upon ourselves to create this regional delicacy.

I started with the classic Hormel No Beans Chili. Call me a cry baby but I do not like beans in my chili at all and personally don't make it that way either. Place a scoop of Fritos on the bottom of an over-sized soup or salad bowl. After heating chili, scoop a portion onto the Fritos. Top with a heaping handful of shredded cheddar and a scoop of sour cream. That's it. Normally this masterpiece is actually served in a bag of Fritos but for a more civilized manner, use the bowl. Something, too, that was really interesting was it was hard to find a complete set of snack sized Fritos in the grocery store. Most of the time, they came with other flavors like Doritos and Cheetos. Mr. Challenge had to venture out and get the "gas station" variety. It's larger than a snack back but smaller than a family sized bag, but it's ALOT of Fritos. And that's it. Frito Pie. Maybe try it one day. You'll thank me, yo!

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