Ignacio Anaya García, described as a “Mexican culinary innovator” who invented nachos, is honored with a Google Doodle on what would have been his 124th birthday.
The Doodle was designed to give readers a craving for the popular snack.
Known by his nickname “Nacho,” Anaya García “revolutionized world cuisine by melting grated Wisconsin cheese over some jalapeno slices and totopos (tortilla chips), thus inventing the dish he dubbed Nachos especiales,” Google noted with the Doodle.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. García Invented Nachos When American Wives of Soldiers Asked for a Snack
García’s invention took place in 1943, when he was “working as Maître d’ at Club Victoria, a popular restaurant in the border town of Piedras Negras, Coahuila,” according to Google.
His customers included the American wives of soldiers who were stationed nearby, and, one day, they came in asking for a snack. García couldn’t find the chef, so he made something up. Soon, nachos were added to the menu, they made it into a cookbook, and others followed suit.
The snack was named after his nickname, Nacho, which was short for Ignacio, the site reports.
2. García Declined to Patent His Invention But His Son Unsuccessfully Tried to Do So Later
Although he came up with one of the world’s most popular snacks, García humbly declined to seek a patent.
“It’s just a snack to keep my customers happy and well-fed,” he reportedly said, according to Google. “It’s like any other border dish.”
Today, the town holds an International Nacho Festival. According to Vanguardia, he “was a native of Chihuahua, who had lived in Piedras Negras 18 years, some time in Texas.” He had worked at other restaurants.
Vanguardia reports that the inventor’s son, Ignacio Anaya junior, who was then vice president of a bank in Eagle Pass, tried to patent nachos but it was too late and he was not able to do so.
“I’ve been from Piedras Negras to Chicago and Texas and I simply smile when I see that there is ‘Nacho’s Special’ on a menu. If they knew that it originated from my dad and that his idea never exploded, but it has given us much honor and pride to the Anaya family and the city of Piedras Negras,” he said, according to the publication.
3. A Guest Artist From Mexico City Made the Google Doodle
Mexico City-based guest artist Alfonso de Anda created the Google Doodle.
He explained to Google: “There isn’t a whole lot of information on Ignacio, so I shifted my focus onto the dish itself. My approach was very straightforward; imagining Ignacio making his first plate of nachos while implicitly communicating a sense of fun.”
He added: “I hope people get an instant crave for a snack after they see the Doodle. I also hope that they instantly drop whatever it is they’re doing and satisfy that craving.”
4. García Used Wisconsin Cheese in the First Nachos & Later Opened His Own Restaurant
“By 1960, García had opened his own restaurant, El Nacho,” Google reported.
Tiempo described the recipe thusly, saying García “took some fried tortillas cut in the shape of a triangle, scratched Wisconsin cheese, spread cheese on top of the tortillas and placed jalapeno pepper, then put everything in the oven.”
Vanguardia reports that there are two stories about this. One says it was very early, 1 p.m., and so there was nothing else ready. Another version of the story holds that the restaurant was about to close, so there was nothing else to serve.
5. Ignacio Anaya García Had Nine Children
According to an article in Zocalo.com, Ignacio Anaya García married Maria Antonieta Salinas and they had nine children together.
The site reported that he started working in the restaurant after being invited to do so because he was working on a bridge that was next to the restaurant.
He died at age 82, the site reports.