An Ode To Refried Beans (This Isn’t An Actual Ode)

The UK Mexican crowd (and yes, there is a Mexican crowd. As in people with an appreciation for mexican food, not just Mexicans. Although I do love Mexicans as well, obviously) is decidedly mixed on the viscous subject of refried beans.

In fact, there are some quotes from separate Mexican Cuisine Appreciators that have been brought to my attention as of late.

Mexican Appreciator #1: “Why haven’t you included Refried Beans in the Big Four? Make it the Big Five!” 

Mexican Appreciator #2: “Oh %^@# they’ve put Refried Beans in my @#%£?!ing burrito. I’m going to throw up.”

Mexican Appreciator #3: “I don’t really understand the point of Refried Beans.” 

Mexican Appreciator #4: “Refried Beans taste like dog food.” 

The Nacho Times will address these points chronologically, but before doing so, I’d like to draw your attention to a particularly HNE:

Just so you’re aware, the black substance is not an extra-terrestrial’s giblets, nor is it tar. It is Refried Beans (or should that be “they are Refried Beans”?) and perfectly illustrates the problem we all seem to have with them.

Firstly, they are not and shall not be included in the Big Four due to inconsistency. These RB’s look banging. These do not (although check out the Oh You Cook page for RBs because the recipe is actually really good. Despite resembling cat sick). I think I’ve made my point. Very few are going to eat anything that resembles cat sick, regardless of how tasty a delicacy it is.

Aside paragraph that has little to do with addressing the above quotes and so threatens to overturn the structure if not signposted:

“Hang on,” I hear you potentially cry, “Why the @&#! would you fry beans twice?!” Well that’s where you’re going wrong. Refried Beans are not refried. They’re cooked in water and mashed. So stick that in your pipe and get bent, m’lady. However, this does mean they are a little healthier than many give them credit for. Good source of protein. Good carbohydrate. Y’know, fibrous.

End of structurally unsound, yet important, paragraph

Moving on.

Secondly, if you have such a violent reaction to RBs then this isn’t necessarily to do with them. It’s like not liking semolina. Or flan. Everyone has foods they dislike, so stop complaining or at least attempt to make your own before you rule them out completely. God.

Thirdly, they complement the flavours of any Mexican dish (including, yes, chos). Salsa is sort of sweet yet hot. Soured cream is cooling. Guacamole is creamy. Cheese is salty. Refried Beans are, sort of meaty and glutinous and taste a bit like dog food. But the sort of dog food you wouldn’t mind eating. It’s an acquired taste but if you’ve never taken a left turn down Bean Alley, it’s definitely worth a try.

Fourthly, I think I just covered this. The fact they taste “like dogfood” isn’t a bad thing. It’s something to be experienced. Salt tastes like peoples’ tears but you don’t turn your nose up at Soy Sauce.

In short: give the Refried Beans a chance. You never know, they may just float your fancy and tickle your boat. Unless they make you throw up, in which case, I apologise.

I also apologise for the abundance of faux swearing. Not quite sure where it came from, to be honest. Clearly just having quite an obscene day.

The Notchoists

If you’ve been following The Nacho Times, or have just stumbled across the site (hi new friend! Perhaps you’re the guy directed here after typing “gwyneth paltrow boobs” into google? If so, let’s chat about this at a later date) you’ll know that Notchos are a form of non-chos masquerading as chos. We’ve all been there. “Hey, come round for nachos” our friends exclaim, before setting out a plate of tortilla chips and houmous. No friends. No. It’s a charming dish, but cannot be placed in the same category.

Additionally, you will have come across the term Nachoist- those who appreciate a good cho. There are those, sadly, who do not. Today, Olive Wakefield from Olive On A Plain declared (actual quote) “All you need to make nachos is doritos and spray cheese.” This shook The Nacho Times to the core. It undid all the good work purveyed in the last four months. I didn’t know myself anymore. I had to go and stand on the balcony and drink a bit of diet coke.

There are people who believe anything involving a crisp, some dip and a sprinkling of cheese can be known as nachos. It’s a misconception that often goes unchallenged, and be remedied by a link to this blog, or other sources of cho information, and a  slap. After a polite request for an embrace  as you cry uncontrollably into their shoulder, muttering “have you never tried actual nachos?” and “but spray cheese is rank” and “there isn’t a God”.

As The Nacho Times has found, even the poorest chos served in franchises such as O’Neills are aware of what constitutes a Notcho. They may have used ketchup instead of salsa, but the jalapenos were present, if humiliated by a lack of valid relish. Wetherspoons, as I have said time and again, do great chos despite being best known for serving such British dishes as Roast Dinner and Really Mild Korma That Tastes Like Roast Dinner.

By all means enjoy some crudité and houmous action, but don’t kid yourself you’re sampling Mexican cuisine. If you’re eating a packet of Cool Original Doritos while making a cheese sandwich and a bit of cheese falls into the packet, have you automatically got nachos? Er, no. You’ve probably got dyspraxia, or at the very least, incredibly poor hand-eye coordination.

Don’t be a Notchoist. If you are, or you know someone who is, take yourself/them to any of the fine establishments reviewed on this site and open your/their mouth(s) to a world infinitely better than spray cheese and doritos.

Other brands of tortilla chip are available.

Layering Cheese on Nachos

It’s a much talked about topic in the fact that nobody talks about it. But I think they should.

Yes, that’s right. The distribution of cheese on Nachos. As the wonderful Joe from London Food 4 A Fiver once said: “I’ve layered the cheese throughout so there won’t be any hairless nachos”

He said this after making some great candid chos. Unfortunately, the picture is unavailable.

Presumably he meant Bald Chos, but regardless of this terminology issue, he had unknowingly hit on a cho goldmine.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the world: layer your cheese. Not only does it eradicate the weird wasteland effect you often get when working through your triangle mountain, but it keeps things interesting. There’s nothing better than being surprised by your own food. Couple this with relish distribution, and you’re away. By relish distribution, I refer to the act of blobbing bits of relish all over the dish, as opposed to three separate large blobs. It’s a technical art.

While we’re on this note, the Ultimate London Nacho (or possibly Ultimate Global Nacho) would also involve layering of relish too. Joe only went for layered cheese, but just think what could have been achieved if he’d gone that extra mile.

Unfortunately he microwaved the crap out the chos, resulting in cheese adhesive but you can’t have everything.

It’s Nacho (Date) Problem

It’s a problem that comes up again and again in the day-to-day existence of someone eating nachos on a regular basis. No, not the calorie count. If you eat nachos twice a week you’re not going to have a heart attack. No, I’m talking about the problems of eating nachos with other people. Other people you’re trying to impress. On dates.

Unless faced with solidified cheese (in which case, use a knife and fork after softening with weedwacker) the stringiness, sloppiness and continual splattering isn’t an aesthetic delight. Then there’s always the moment when you both go for the same nacho. Should be romantic, except it’s the last one with a good amount of relish, so the event is tainted with an undercurrent of competition, as well as resentment for whoever manages to snaffle it first. Plus both your hands are covered in salsa. It looks almost like two surgeons arm-deep in a heart bypass operation, both accidentally going for the same valve. But then trying to eat it.

But nachos are, aside from all this, the perfect date food for the following reasons:

  • You’re sharing. You can determine whether your date is an only child or not. Do they leave you all the bald chos? Do they stray into your half of the plate? When you go to the bathroom, do you return to find a Nacho Wasteland? Probably rubbish in bed too.
  • There’s comedic potential A serious date is a crap date. There’s nothing like being covered in salsa to give you both an outlet for being funny. And if you make each other laugh then marriage is on the cards, obviously.
  • There’s masculine potential. It is written that males like to impress females. A great vehicle for this is eating all the jalapenos and throwing your date a “what of it?” off hand glance. And pretending you don’t want to cry. She’ll be impressed.
  • It’s a talking point. Searching for something to say? Turn to the chos. If you don’t know how you’d talk about nachos for an extended period of time, read this blog more.
  • You’ve seen them at their worst. They have cheese hanging out of their mouth, guacamole on their chin and soured cream down their top. Still fancy them? If so, you’re onto a winner.

So check out the Nacho Times ratings, choose your venue and get stuck in.

No Woman, No Nacho.

The minute they put the nachos on the table, everybody becomes an enemy because there’s all different kinds of nachos. Do you ever see those naked ones around the perimeter? Then, there’s that one big Powerball nacho that somehow is connected to all the other nachos on the plate — it’s like the Kevin Bacon of nachos.

– Bob Marley (source here)

(Yes, Bob Marley was a friend of Kevin Bacon. I don’t see what the problem is)