I rarely eat nachos, but when I do it always goes the same way. There are variations on the toppings, but the 2 main ingredients (Chips and salsa) are the problem.
Technically, I think the 2 main ingredients of nachos are chips and cheese. Could you imagine being at a movie or sporting event (or even a restaurant) and ordering nachos and getting no cheese? I think we’d all be pretty mad. However, in many cases, there is no salsa and we understand that.
For instance, at the movies, you’ll get a bunch of chips, stood up neatly in a partitioned tray and enough nacho cheese to dip about 3 of those chips. By the end of the snack, I’m often putting a dry chip in my mouth and licking the cheese compartment for the last little bit of nacho cheese, trying to recapture the joy that was those first few chips covered in warm gooey cheesy goodness.
Maybe I’m not eating nachos the right way. Maybe I’m using too much nacho cheese per chip. Perhaps the perfect chip/cheese balance is found by gently grazing the edge of the chip over the top of the cheese, barely scratching the surface. Maybe, just maybe the nacho experience is about the harmonious combination of the 2 parts.
I’ve always seen the chip as more of an edible spoon than a meaningful part of the meal. If the movie worker people would put the cheese in the chips compartment and vice versa, one problem would be solved, but 2 more would arise. First and probably most important, the little plastic tray may not be able to support the added cheese weight, particularly after the plastic heats up. I’ll venture that piping hot nacho cheese spilling onto your lap as you settle in for the main feature will spoil a perfectly good movie experience more than running out of cheese.
“How was Avatar?”
“Sucked balls. Worst movie ever.”
“Really? I’ve been hearing nothing but rave reviews.”
“Rave reviews, eh? Obviously, you haven’t seen … THIS!!!”
“What the hell happened to your leg?”
“I thought so. Whore!”
The second reason is that now there would be too much cheese and once the edible spoons (chips) were gone, you’d have a similar (but not as dire) problem as the first one.
So yeah, the compartments of the little plastic tray have a designated use that should not be ignored. Maybe they should offer cheese refills. Maybe they do. I don’t know. If I were at home, this would not be a problem. Well, sort of.
At home, I rarely bother with the cheese. I either have to melt it on the chips if it’s just some shredded cheese or heat it in its jar if it’s some store bought nacho cheese dip thing. Either way involves what I think of as “cooking” and is usually more effort than I’m willing to put forth in order to have a little snack.
So typically, I just pour some chips on a plate and mix some salsa and sour cream in a bowl and call it good.
Whether I use salsa or cheese, however, the “Nacho problem” becomes worse at home than at the movies because it never ends. At least at the movies, there is a finite amount of both cheese and chips.
Always at home, when one thing runs out, I have to get a little more of the other. It goes like this:
“Oh – I’m out of cheese. Pause it.”
5 minutes later …
“Need more chips. Pause it.”
and still, a bit later on …
“Oops. Looks like I got too many chips. Need to finish these off with just a little more cheese. Pause it.”
And on it goes until I’m banging on the neighbor’s door late at night asking them If I could just borrow a little cheese and/or chips.
I don’t actually think there is a correct ratio of chips to cheese (or sour cream + salsa). I think it is likely that with scientific analysis and practice, there’s a way to get close. But there will never be a consistent reliable way to ensure that the cheese and chips are gone simultaneously.
It’s not fair.
Jack is 10. Before he was 2, he would go on long bike rides with me. I had a Burley. I’d pull him along as I rode the trail for as much as 2 and a half hours. He loved it. We’d load up the Burley with Fruit snacks, drinks, chips and salsa, etc. He’d sit there contentedly and enjoy the scenery. When he was too big for the Burley, he rode. In fact, he was up and riding before he was 3 years old. He is always up for a ride with me and he has become a strong rider. Earlier this year, he realized his child’s bike was holding him back. It was a heavy wal-mart bike. Heavier than any 2 of my bikes. We looked around to get some ideas and settled on a small adult comfort bike. The Trek Allant. He loved this bike because it had a 3X7 gearing configuration. It was relatively light and had smoother tires. He was easily able to go from averaging about 8MPH on the trail to roughly 15MPH. It was all good.
Abe has never really taken to it the way Jack did. He would not go in the Burley. He did not want to ride much at all. Eventually when he was the last of the kids his age who couldn’t ride a bike, he decided it was time. We got him a heavy wal-mart bike and he has ridden it maybe a dozen times.
When Jack got the new Allant, Abe sort of wanted Jack’s Wal-Mart bike. So he got it. And we had one extra bike.
Next, Brady competed in some mountain bike events on his cross bike. And won. This sparked in me a very costly realization. It is possible to ride on the area trails on a cross bike. I have a cross bike. Cool. Maybe I should look into this whole off-road thing.
So while I was looking into it, I found out that some great people in town have organized a program to teach kids how to ride off-road. It’s called Omaha Devo and it’s fantastic. I signed both kids up and after each session, I quiz them about techniques they’ve learned. I don’t do this because I’m some sort of enthusiastic good parent or something. I do this because they usually tell me something I need to learn. Things like “Get your ass out of the saddle,” etc.
Unfortunately, the bikes we have for the kids are not quite right. I did what I could with Jack’s. I put the biggest cross tires I could fit on his bike - and it works. The problem is he’s about the only kid there with a no suspension, non mountain bike. I understand the feeling. He’s been upset about his bike not quite being appropriate ever since. But I’m proud of him. He loves the off-road stuff so much, he’s accepted that his bike is less than ideal and he makes due.
Abe’s bike, though. The one that used to be Jack’s? No. Not gonna happen. Abe likes the Devo stuff. Not as much as Jack, but he likes it. His bike is such a POS though, it is seriously limiting his ability to do anything.
Jack’s bike is like chips. Abe’s is an empty container of cheese.
So out of pure necessity and a focused intended use, I began a search for a suitable bike for Abe to use at Omaha Devo. This is tricky because there are very few lightweight kids bikes and the new ones are relatively expensive. $300 is about getting you started for a bike that will be outgrown in a year or 2.
Finally, I found a great mountain bike for Abe (used) at a great price (now we have 2 extra bikes). He loves it. It’s approximately the color of a big new bowl of nacho cheese. It’s perfect for Devo even if Abe isn’t that into it.
What’s that Jack? You’re out of chips? Oh crap. Jack really likes Abe’s bike too. There’s a good and a bad thing about this. The good thing is that for Abe, his big brother’s approval validates the coolness factor of the bike. No matter what Mom or Dad say, it’s the acceptance from peers that actually matters.
The bad thing. The thing that hurts the most is knowing that Jack is the one who will take this sport and run with it as Abe has only a passing interest. And now, even his little brother has a more suitable bike than he does.
Excuse me while I start my search for some more chips, and cement our status as a “3 extra bike” family.