It started with a Friday night bowl of nachos and turned into a tradition, not to mention a nickname.
It started because we had a new house littered with boxes, a six-year-old, and an infant who, it turns out, wouldn’t sleep through the night for two years.
One Friday afternoon, Nacho Man took a look at me and suggested a bowl of homemade nachos after the girls had gone to bed.
Could it have been because I had the pallor of an albino zombie, which fair skin+new baby+Seattle’s drippy weather will do to you? Because neither of us could recall the last time we’d been out? Because he saw how I was struggling to keep everything together? Because he wanted a little quality time with me? Because he just wanted chips and felt that it would be impolite to gorge himself in front of me?
Whatever the reason, he made the suggestion and it’ll always go down in the history of our marriage as one of the kindest, most considerate things he’s ever done. Nacho Man doesn’t generally cook. He works long hours and food is usually ready when he rolls in. But that night, and almost every Friday night after, he came home from a full day at work, put the girls to bed, handed me the remote and ordered me to stay on the couch while he assembled the ingredients in our kitchen.
That’s right. Ingredients. We’re not talking a jar of microwavable faux-cheese. We’re talking:
crunchy yellow corn tortilla chips. We’ve tried many brands. The only chips that don’t seem to work for us are blue corn and reduced fat. They become chewy. But we encourage you to play with your food.
Tillamook Pepper-Jack cheese. This is our favorite; we’re so fortunate to be able to get it here in Seattle. It has just the right amount of heat and melts beautifully. If you can’t find it, experiment! Is there really any harm in eating lots of different cheeses?
Mezzetta sliced, tamed jalapeno peppers. They have a mellow, slightly tangy taste that doesn’t burn the mouth quite like a regular jalapeno, which means I can eat much more rapidly.
McIlhenny Co. tabasco. We go for the smoked chipotle flavor.
A cold Newcastle Brown Ale. This just happens to be our favorite.
Open the beer. Have a swig.
Shred an obscene amount of cheese. Turn the song “Macho Man” into “Nacho Man” while he’s working.
Place a layer of chips on the bottom of a very deep, microwave-safe bowl.
Cover liberally with cheese.
Repeat as necessary.
Microwave for 60 seconds. Check to see how well the cheese has melted. Microwave for an additional 30-60 seconds if needed. This would be a good time to chug more beer. (Nacho Man is a big fan of the microwave. It’s cheaper than the oven–the issue of frugality will come up later–and it’s quick.)
Top with jalapenos as desired.
Carry the bowl, the tabasco, and the beer to your wife, who is prostrate on the couch, staring, transfixed, as Stacy and Clinton instruct some poor slob of a woman on how to present herself to the world. Ignore the fact that said wife is wearing old flannel gnome pajama bottoms and a t-shirt she has stolen from Nacho Man.
In the early days, we knew that we had approximately 30 minutes of us-time before our baby girl woke up for a feeding. Once she was through that stage, we could have lingered over our nachos, but it’s often an eat-to-the-death match to see who gets the last chip.
We usually split it.
Or make a second bowl.
We have few vices, so in this, we go all out. I realize how much I love it, because I’ve told all my friends and co-workers about it. I’ve had more than one girlfriend sigh wistfully as we talk about our weekend plans and the topic of Friday Date Night Nachos comes up. The food, the amazing service, the pampering, the quiet time together. I look forward to it as soon as I say good night to Nacho Man on Friday.
Some women have a macho man. But how many have a Nacho Man? We hope your fella will get in touch with his inner Nacho Man and start a food tradition for you, even if it’s not chip-related.
But get your own. He’s nachos. He’s mine.