I’m glad I’m writing this post on April 11th and not April 1st, because otherwise I fear my readers might think it’s a joke. I assure you it is not. Last night I saw and ate – with my own eyes and mouth – a Frito pie. When in Texas, do as the Texans do.
When my Texan companions learned that I had never heard of “Frito pie,” less tasted it, they were shocked. It became obligatory for me to taste it that night. I did not know what to expect. Soon after we placed the order at the bar, a bowl appeared on the table, containing a bag of Frito-Lay brand chips that had been cut open.
Inside the bag was… a heart attack. The Frito corn chips had been topped with chili, cheese, sour cream, onion, and jalapeño peppers. Other possible toppings include refried beans, salsa, or pulled pork. Some of the corn chips get a bit soggy, but others stay crunchy.
I didn’t even know how to begin eating this thing. I stared at it, confused. Should I be picking up a fork? Am I meant to go at it with my hands? Maybe you just pick up the bag and shove your face directly into it? What was the appropriate dinner table etiquette in this situation? It was like being at a fancy dinner party and not knowing which fork to use for the oysters. Except we were sitting at a picnic table in a dive bar in Austin and the fork was plastic.
Sensing my hesitation, my friend jumped in and emptied the contents of the bag into the bowl and then handed me the fork. Had we been on the move and eating the Frito pie to go, then I could have eaten it directly out of the bag (still with a fork), in which case it is called a “walking taco” or “taco in a bag.”
It is also called a “stomach grenade.” For good reason. That pie is heavy. And salty. I think I might eat it again. Just not when sober.