I received this email a week ago from Jonny O. He writes about "The Ultimate Nacho Bowl". The story brings a holiday tear to my eye...
So... the end-of-semester potluck in my ceramics class. The anticipation was building for several weeks. Many asked as I was crafting the thing what purpose it could possibly serve- such a massive beast of a thing. What could justify such effort and magnitude? Such devotion. So I explained to them in bits and pieces my long pedigree in nacho making: The triumphs. The tragedies. The hours of study. The adulation. The fame. The women. Had my tales run thin? Was I all talk and no action? The class demanded proof, I sensed. "Fine, you shall have it!!"
I was a bit worried, to be honest. It's sort of my magnum opus, my A-Game,these nachos. It's something I've perfected and re-perfected over years and years. How many Super Bowl parties? How many 4th of Julys? And each time, trying to make things truer and wiser and more perfect. But this was a whole different crowd. These were "artsy" types. I fully expected the other offerings at the table to be of the "cruelty-free, fair trade tofu" variety. How would my display of ostentatious machismo play out? My dish, which basically says, "screw calories, screw fat and cholesterol. This is about the EATING." How would it go? Would they turn their noses up at it? Politely say "thank you, that's nice"? Would it sit there untouched, unloved, as I slunk into a corner and made polite conversation? So with worry in mind, I put special attention to dialing in the seasoning just right: Paprika, onion, garlic, chili, several peppers, half a beer and others.
I tasted it at the edge of its last bit of reducing and knew I had hit some magic luck. It was just right. I knew, from one taste, there was no way of making it better. Nothing to add, nothing I could take away. It was just damn right. Rare perfection. That gave me confidence. As I entered the studio I surveyed the spread and realized I overestimated my foes. Many brought in store-bought cookies. Trader Joe's fare was abundant. A few brought in simple homemade goods. One brought a decent pasta salad. Still others brought in heartfelt endeavors, such as fresh baked breads (which were quite good, I must say). But they were all token gestures to this magnanimous occasion. In fact, the whole spirit of the thing was to "bring a dish in your DISH" - make a dish in the class - forge something by your own hand - and then bring something equally delicious to fill it. And looking over the plastic Trader Joes containers of hummus, the collection of store-bought crackers and soups, and otherwise petty endeavors, I chuckled inwardly. I was the newbie, and yet they didn't have the spirit of the thing. I pulled the cover off the ultimate nacho bowl to a collective hush. And they knew, oh my brothers, it was the main event.
The total package had arrived. They'd never seen anything like it. And the combination of the Ultimate Nacho Bowl with the Ultimate Nachos in it, well, they were utterly powerless. I sat back in somewhat fascination as they descended upon it. Like ants. The class made those nachos gone in short and decisive order. GONE! The bowl scraped clean! All I had to do was rinse the sucker out at the end of the night. I inwardly reveled in my nacho-dom, my confidence restored, my nachismo intact. All in all, another victory for the greatest food of all time. And another victory for your's truly, the king: I am the Ric Flair of the Nacho.
peace, love and nachos