My childhood through mid-/late- teens was filled with food that was absolutely not good for me. Sure, I also ate food that was good for me, like broccoli and salad, but my weakness? Melted cheese, black beans, salsa, chips, olives, and sometimes, just sometimes, sour cream. And more cheese. That’s right, my delicious kryptonite was nachos. Yes, I know, it is a total miracle that I’m not 800 pounds heavier, but you should just go and be jealous somewhere else. I loved them. If mom and I were having one of our frequent “on your own” nights, I’d trudge into the kitchen with one thing in mind, and it was usually a plate filled with wonderment.
I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere along the line I stopped eating nachos. I don’t enjoy them any less (duh, they’re so. so. so good), I just stopped making them. Slowly, they were replaced by other things, like burritos, granola bars and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Regardless, they’re one of those foods that my family associates with me. If it isn’t mashed potatoes, it is Tillamook cheesy nachos. Which is why this story is so cute/funny/slightly mortifying.
In my quest to find myself I’ve been sort of house-hopping. A few days at the BF’s house here, a week at the ranch there, fleeting moments in Portland, and my first few days at my Oma and Opa’s (they’re my grandparents, for those who don’t speak German) house. I love spending time with them and it isn’t just because they’re adorable and wonderful, which they are, but also because they feed you until you could probably burst with food that would change anyone’s life if they had just one fork/spoonful of yummyness concocted in that house. The last day I was there I was helping Oma set the table for lunch, when she noted that I hadn’t eaten any nachos the whole time I was there. I said that I didn’t know she bought me chips or I would have, and she just looked at me and said “well, they are on top of the fridge!”
I look over to the top of the fridge and see two things:
- Doritos, blue bag. Probably the ranch flavor.
- Doritos, red bag. Probably trying to emulate the taste of salsa and/or cheese.
I swallowed my cringe because I didn’t want to insult Oma, even if the sudden horror that dawned on me was massive and taking no prisoners. Yeah, they were sort of shaped like tortilla chips, but surely, she couldn’t mean… “I bought them just for you. I know you love them, so Opa and I bought it for you. We don’t know nacho very well, but you can teach us.” My heart sank. She even said “nacho,” and just like that I knew what I had to do. I told her that it was super thoughtful and of course I’d have nachos, I just didn’t know that she had bought chips for me or I would have done it earlier.
The journey to the fridge seemed long, my feet heavy. I couldn’t believe what I was about to do, yet there I was, taking out the cheddar cheese and black olives, searching for salsa for my Dorito nachos. Yes, I know that some people like their Tex-Mex to have even more artificial flavoring and that Taco Bell has Dorito shells like it is a good idea, but this was going to be bad. It was going to be bad and I was going to have to love it. It was me or the feelings of my grandparents. I spread the chips on the plate, placed really really generous helpings of cheese on top of the chip (to mask the self-deprecating feelings of shame that were already welling up), topped it off with the rest of the goodies and stuck it in the microwave. By the time it was done the table was set and I walked over with my plate, gingerly setting it onto the blue placemat.
So there I was, staring at the leftover ham and mashed potatoes on their respective dishes, both beckoning to me with their aroma and drool-inducing memories from the day before, with a plate full of Doritos covered in cheese in front of me. I smiled and waited for them to start eating before taking my cue.
The smell of the ham and onions and heaven from the night before was thoroughly distracting, but I figure that if I compounded the chips on top of each other I’d end the torture sooner, so I filled my mouth to maximum capacity with the orangely dusted chips and the droopy cheese that even seemed outraged at the pairing until the plate was clean. Well. It would have been clean if it wasn’t for the aforementioned synthetically orange flavorings stuck to the bottom of the plate because of the grease of the melted cheese like a big giant “fuck you” to my feelings and mental state of catatonic shock and disgust.
It was….horrible. I don’t even mean that in the way that you feel about a ½ pound bacon cheeseburger the next morning, no. I mean in a genuinely horrible grease laden way, the kind that stains your tongue and fingers for the rest of the night so that you don’t forget the horror that you experienced, the trials that you lived through. However, I only used a fraction of the bag, which means I’ll have to do it again. And for my grandparents I’d have it a second time.
But, definitely not a third time.