The Great Cheese Sauce Conundrum

5 March 2009 by Rachel Anderson Category: battle
Tagged: ,   10 Comments

I feel that this is going to be our most hotly contested post in Nachos NY history. I’m going out on a limb here with this but it needs to be said. Deep breath and here it goes: Nacho cheese sauce does not a nacho make. More simply, cheese wiz on tortilla chips does not automatically mean nachos. Far from it my friends, instead, it makes a salty dip product that only should be served at sporting events, gas stations, and movie theatres.

Oozing Cheese?The nacho’s original form was simply tortillas, melted longhorn cheddar cheese, topped with jalapenos. Now as we add guacamole, chorizo, or pico de gallo, are we really going to allow ourselves to evolve to consuming processed cheese? In just two tablespoons of Tostitos Salsa con Queso there is 280mg of sodium-that’s 12% of your daily intake. And who eats just two tablespoons? Please, maybe on one chip.

I don’t want to say, “Let’s abolish this queso-imposter.” It does have its rightful place in the culinary world. So instead I propose this: Imitation, processed cheese dip must only be paired with circle tortilla chips. You know the chips I am talking about. (Again) Overly salted, comes from a jumbo bag about as tall as a moose, and there only ever seems to be like two chips that haven’t broken in to semi-circles. Wash them down with a cold Labatt Blue, bet number 4 to win, and enjoy your day at the racetrack.

So please, if you’re waiting in line for lunch at the Union Square Taco Bell, contemplating whether or not to get the Nachos Bellgrande, remind yourself you’re not at some travel plaza off of I-90 on you’re way to Indiana. Besides, have you seen those new enchilada platters?

Do you agree? I’ll be glad to battle you in the comments.

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  • lee said:

    If no one else is confident enough to battle you, maybe I will. I think that nacho cheese is very delicious and for a long time as a child, I hoped to figure out how to make my own.

    And also, your mini-diatribe again circle chips is atrocious. The innovations with the circle chip, dipper, and Tostitos Scoops has revolutionized eating cheese and salsa.

    Your turn.

  • rachel (author) said:

    Innovations of the circle chip have certainly revolutionized the way we eat chips and salsa but not nachos. Circle chips are best used in dip situations. Are we now about to catagorize nachos as a dip food? Hell, no. I guess I neglected to voice my opinion that cheese sauce should be categorized as a dip instead of being in the nacho family. When you get “nachos” at the movies, the cheese sauce is in its own special compartement in the special chip tray. You must utilize the circle shaped chip in order to properly coat your chip in cheese sauce. Triangle chips would not work in this situation. The angles of the chip would provide too much of a problem.

    So in short, again, there is a place for circle chips and cheese sauce. They just are not in the same playing field as nachos.

  • Joe D. said:

    “Cheese sauce” is the cheeze-wiz of nachos. It is far too often a vile fix for Americans’ addiction to sodium, a radioactive-yellow ooze that requires as little chewing as possible to gag down. I must admit that I will go to town on a jar of Tostitos-brand Nacho cheese sauce and a bag of Fritos Scoops, but it is a poor replacement for legit, real cheese nachos. Just last week, I shared about half a can of Frito-Lay “nacho sauce” with my brother and wound up holding a garbage can as he blew mustard-yellow chunks about 30 minutes later. His stomach was like, “this isn’t supposed to be here. Must violently expel immediately.” The smell from that day will make me “mellow on the yellow” for a few months at least… I believe the picture for this post sums it up: nasty.

  • teeef said:

    i really only want to admit liking processed cheese in the form of melted cheez-wiz on o-fries.
    i also love tostitos scoops. they’re far from nachos, though, i have to agree.
    nachos should be fresh tasty awesome things on top of fresh tasty homemade chips, which would be a huge pain to make in circles. we do our own at home and they are pretty much the best thing ever.

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  • Sarah "Nacho Ordinary Commenter" Brown said:

    What about what is lovingly called “Cheese Dip” or simply “queso” in GMRs (Generic Mexican Restaurants) in the South? It is a delicious form of white liquid cheese that is served on the nachos in many mexican restaurants. It’s a far cry from Tostito’s salsa con queso in the jar – it’s just melted (though processed) cheese with the occasional green chili. It does return to solid form at room temperature, though, which makes it more Velveeta than Tostito’s.

    I guess I’m asking if you would consider whether tortilla chips, covered in this delicious ivory liquid, with beans, jalepenos, etc, etc, would be categorized as “nachos.”

  • lee said:

    We wrote this post nearly two years ago, but I think we still value cheese dip/sauce pretty low. That isn’t to say we don’t appreciate a good queso, but it doesn’t sound like queso you are describing is particularly awesome. I don’t see Velveeta that far from Tostito’s.

    But we appreciate people liking nachos, so if thats how you want your nachos, go crazy.

  • omar said:

    hi Rachel, I came across this site yesterday (which is kind of ironic since i have lived here for 7 years and am always in search of the best ‘chos in town) and am trying to catch up on all the various posts on this site. now i do agree with you for the most part that queso dip poured on top of chips are not nachos, merely a snack of sorts. but there are a few exceptions that i have come across (actually just 2). one are the nachos @ Qdoba and the others are the nachos at ESPNZone (which i guess don’t really count since there is no longer an ESPNZone in the city). what made these 2 places standout is that their queso was not the same (completely) processed cheese that comes out of those metal containers or glass jars. there is actually real cheese in the queso so you don’t feel left feeling ill after eating the whole plate. of course both also have several toppings (Qdoba allows you to pick the beans, meat, salsas) which officially makes them nachos. definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already and maybe you’ll make an exception as well.

    as for taco bell (a place near and dear to my heart), that’s a completely different debate.

    in any event, just wanted to say hi and share my thoughts. you’ll probably be hearing a lot from me now that i found this gem of a site.

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