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Redefining In-Flight Catering

National Tortilla Chip Day

Tortilla Chips

There are items in the world that have made a huge impact on humanity, that have come about purely thinking on how to utilize leftover or unwanted products. In the kitchen, we save our onion, celery and carrots scraps to make fresh vegetable stock or when we clean chicken breasts we use the trimming to make chicken stock. Simply tossing these items into the garbage is not just throwing away money, but is a missed opportunity to create wonderful items to be used for other dishes. The same frugal thinking is what gave us the tortilla chip.

There are two sides to every tortilla, and also the story of who created the tortilla chip. On one side, it is credited to Rebecca Carranza, owner of “El Zarape,” a Los Angeles Mexican delicatessen, where her automated tortilla machines would crank out fresh tortillas every day. Misshapen or irregular tortillas were rejected and tossed out, until one day when Rebecca cut the tortillas in wedges and fried them. Other claims of creation are by Jose Martinez of the San Antonio, Texas “Tamalina Milling Company,” where during the process of making masolina for tortillas. The mass production of this product created an excess of masa, in which he also fried the pieces and created tortillas.

While both sides hold claim to the origins, it was one company that really put tortillas on the U.S. radar: Frito-Lay’s. Execs from the chip giant came to notice how people of Southern California were obsessed with these crispy golden chips, so they immediately duplicated the recipe and the chip made its national debut.

Today, there are over 500 different types and brands of tortilla chips available in the U.S., including ones made for specific dietary requirements like halal, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and low-sodium.

Being from Texas, I can tell you that nothing goes with tortilla chips like something to dip them into. You can get all fancy with some kind of Truffle Peach Ghost Pepper Infused Salsa, or go for the obvious, guacamole… or you can go for the gold: queso!

Recipe: Queso

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces Velveeta Cheese
  • 1 can Ro-Tel Original Canned Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilis

Method

  • Combine both ingredients.
  • Place in a microwave for five minutes.
  • Remove from microwave, stir and enjoy.

Questions?

If you have any questions about this recipe, flight crew culinary training or about in-flight catering, contact me at ricpeterson@airculinaire.com.

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