This Is Nacho Average Fact
Time to get jalapeño business.
Welcome to Fun Fact Friyay! This newsletter is for curious people like you. Now, let’s learn something.
Today’s fact: The Texas Rangers were the first team to serve stadium nachos.
The Texas Rangers are currently in the American League Championship Series, one round away from the World Series, which will be played by teams located in either Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, or Arlington (all notably within the United States).
If you’re a fan of eating nachos at sporting events, you should probably be rooting for the Rangers.
Nachos themselves were invented back in 1943. A man named Matre d’htel Ignacio Anaya was working at the Victory Club restaurant in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. He took some tostadas, cut them into pieces, sprinkled some cheese on top, and threw ‘em in the broiler for a minute. Voilà — nachos.
Yet, the sports world wouldn’t welcome nachos for another 33 years. Ballparks and stadiums tend to have tens of thousands of people in attendance, and it’s difficult to make that many nachos at scale.
Unless you’re Frank Liberto, and you concoct a substance that’s not even legally considered cheese.
In 1976, Liberto created his cheese sauce. The recipe has been kept as big a secret as any major sitcom series finale, but we know there’s some semblance of a cheese-adjacent substance in it, as well as leftover jalapeño juice and added water.
This orange-tinted sauce was the secret…ahem, sauce that stadium nachos needed. It arrived in cans, required no refrigeration, and could fit into pumps for easy cheesin’.
Liberto sold his idea to the Rangers. Go ahead and make a “cha-ching” sound right now. These nachos were quite popular. One in every 2.5 patrons chowed down on the ‘chos, and the Rangers sold $800,000 worth of nachos in the snack’s debut season. Popcorn was previously the best seller in the ballpark, and it made a mere $85,000 for the year.
The following year, Liberto founded Ricos Products Co. I’m going to put a delightful commercial for them below (or you can just click here to watch it).
Monday Night Football announcer Howard Cosell kept the nacho train rolling with a monologue about them during a Dallas Cowboys game.
And now, you can get nachos at just about any sporting event you go to. Sometimes, it’s nothing but chips and cheese. Other times, it’s piled six feet high with beef, peppers, sour cream, funnel cake, and a bowling ball. And occasionally, a player falls into you, and your nachos fly everywhere.
Liberto died in 2017, but he’s forever known as the “Father of Nachos.” That’s a nickname we can all aspire to. Now, let’s take ourselves out to the ballgame.
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