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16 Delicious Facts for National Tortilla Chip Day

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February 24 is National Tortilla Chip Day! Here are some facts and history about the famous triangle-shaped treat.

1. The inventor of tortilla chips was probably Jose Martinez of San Antonio, Texas. According to the book Taco USA, Martinez invented mass-produced masa, which is what tortillas are made out of. He found himself with lots of extra masa, so he decided to cut it up and toast the pieces into chips.

2. But the introduction of tortilla chips into modern food culture is most commonly traced back to Rebecca Webb Carranza. In the late 1940s, she was president of the El Zarpape Tortilla Factory in Los Angeles. She had the idea to fry and serve the misshapen tortillas that the machine sometimes produced, and after her family raved over them at a family party, she sold them to the public for a dime a bag. They caught on, and eventually the company shifted its focus to producing only "Tort Chips," as they came to be called. 

3. In 1994 the “Golden Tortilla” award made its debut. It was created to recognize industry innovators, and Carranza was among its first recipients. Unfortunately, the awards only lasted one more year after that event. 

4. Nachos were invented in 1943 by Ignacio Anaya, a maitre’d from Piedra Negras, Mexico. He found himself in a pinch when a group of guests arrived hungry at his restaurant, and he was without a chef. He went to the kitchen and began cutting up tortillas, which he then topped with cheese and jalapeño peppers. He called the dish Nachos Especiales. Reportedly, "Nacho" was his nickname. 

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5. Doritos became popular in 1961 thanks to the smarts of a man named Archibald Clark West. West, who was VP of marketing at Frito-Lay at the time, discovered the chips while on vacation with his family at Disneyland. The chips were leftovers at a restaurant Frito-Lay was sponsoring called Casa de Fritos, and the chef seasoned them with his own special blend of spices and sold them to the public. The idea didn’t go over well with higher-ups, but West figured out a way to scrape together funding from other Frito-Lay projects in order to create a prototype, which eventually became a hit when Doritos were released to the national market in 1966.

6. Taco Bell made its debut in Downey, California back in 1962, created by a man named Glen Bell whose customers called his tortilla-wrapped products “tay-kos.” There are now over 6300 in existence that all offer various tortilla and nacho combinations and flavors.

7. Tortilla chips are naturally gluten free!

8. Amazon sells 51 different brands of tortilla chips on its site, from Beanitos ($15.59/bag, and actually made of beans) to Santitas. ($2/bag).

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9. The state of Texas made tortilla chips and salsa the state’s official snack in 2003. The idea was proposed by a group of elementary school students who realized that Texas needed a state snack to go alongside the state pepper (jalapeño), the state dish (chili), and the state fruit (grapefruit). The children contacted their state representative with their idea, and the rest is history. 

10. Doritos were the top-ranked tortilla chip brand in the United States in 2015, with over $1.3 billion in sales. Tostitos came in second, with sales at $601 million. But even with those numbers, tortilla and tostada chips are the third best-selling salty snack in the U.S. Crackers and potato chips were first and second, respectively.

11. In 2012, Minneapolis-based group Y.N. RichKids had a viral summer music hit with their song “Hot Cheetos and Takis.” Takis are rolled and fried tortilla chips that come in Guacamole, Fajita, Fuego, Salsa Brava and Nitro flavors.

12. In the animated movie Despicable Me 2 (2013), Gru turned heads with his sombrero made out of tortilla chips. Want a fun edible craft project? If you have an hour, extra flour, and a head-shaped bowl, try making this edible version.

13. Blue Corn (blue corn being a special variety of maize, not traditional corn) tortillas have less starch and 20 percent more protein than white corn tortillas, according to a 2007 study, meaning that their associated chips should be healthier as well (despite the frying process). 

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14. In September 2015, Moe's Southwestern Grill made waves when they promoted their free queso dip day by creating—and smashing—an electric guitar made from a giant tortilla chip.

15. In 2012, UK restaurant chain Brewers Fayre made the Guinness Book of World Records for baking the country’s largest tortilla chip, at 110 pounds and 32 square feet. It took over 50 hours to make, and was baked in a oven that was 10 feet deep.

16. Tortilla chips are Jennifer Aniston's favorite snack, and Kristen Stewart loves tortilla soup so much, she shared her recipe with Vogue.

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Chefs Launch World's Highest Pop-Up Restaurant at Mt. Everest Base Camp
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A touch of altitude sickness shouldn't stand in the way of a good meal. At least that seems to be the idea behind a plan to serve a seven-course dinner to trekkers at Everest Base Camp, the gateway for those planning to climb Mt. Everest in Nepal.

The four chefs leading this trip hope it will land them a new Guinness World Record for the highest pop-up restaurant on the planet, according to Architectural Digest. At the end of May, the chefs will take 10 people on an eight-day trek from the town of Lukla (at an altitude of about 10,000 feet) to Everest Base Camp (at 11,600 feet), all while foraging along the way for ingredients that can be incorporated into the meal. (For a true luxury experience, guests also have the option of traveling by helicopter.) The full package of flights, accommodations, and meals costs about $5600 per person.

After reaching their destination, trekkers will get to sit back and enjoy a feast, which will be served inside a tent to protect diners against the harsh Himalayan winds. Indian chef Sanjay Thakur and others on his team say they want to highlight the importance of sustainability, and the money they raise will be donated to local charities. Thakur said most of the food will be cooked sous vide, which allows vacuum-packed food to be cooked in water over a long period of time.

"The biggest challenge, of course, will be the altitude, which will affect everything," Thakur tells Fine Dining Lovers. "Flavor [perception] will be decreased, so we will be designing a menu of extraordinary dishes accordingly, where spices will have the upper hand."

This isn't the first time an elaborate meal will be served at Everest Base Camp, though. According to Fine Dining Lovers, another chef launched a pop-up at the same spot in 2016, but it presumably wasn't registered with the Guinness Book of World Records. Other extreme restaurants include one carved into a limestone cliff in China, one dangling 16 feet above the ground in a rainforest in Thailand, and one submerged 16 feet below sea level in the Maldives.

[h/t Architectural Digest]

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Do You 'Procrastibake'? You're Not Alone
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The urge to put off tasks until the last minute is often accompanied by a nagging sense of guilt about not being productive. A new trend tackles both problems at once. It's called procrastibaking.

As The New York Times reports, procrastibaking, or throwing yourself into a baking project to distract yourself from an impending work deadline, is popular among students, telecommuters, and anyone else with access to an oven and who needs a creative outlet divorced from their actual work. Preparing a difficult recipe with many steps may feel like a chore when you're making it for someone else, but when you're baking for baking's sake, the process becomes meditative. Procrastibakers often choose the most complicated recipes they can find: More time in the kitchen means less time spent thinking about their term paper (or bar exam, freelance gig, tax filing, etc.).

According to Google Trends, interest in the term procrastibaking first spiked in April 2010. The word gained momentum on university campuses. A writer named Gabrielle reports in a 2012 blog post for the online law student community Survive Law that procrastibaking and legal education go hand in hand, "because if you’re going to spend time away from the books, you may as well have something cool (and edible) to show for it." In 2014, the linguistics department at Monash University posted a blog detailing the connections between the word and the student tradition of bringing baked goods to meetings.

Today procrastibaking appeals to expert time-wasters of all ages and occupations. There are currently 26,585 posts with the hashtag #procrastibaking on Instagram—check them out if you need some inspiration for ways to push off your next project.

[h/t The New York Times]

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