It has been awhile, but we’re excited to welcome y’all back to the Southern Delicacy series! It’s no secret that one of the great claims to fame/bragging rights of the South is our cuisine, and from our mama’s cooking to the many iconic eateries below the Mason-Dixon, it’s certainly something to celebrate. Take a look here to see our past Southern Delicacy posts, but be warned–don’t look while hungry!
Today’s topic may be considered more specifically a Texas delicacy than a Southern delicacy, but we love it all the same! Frito pie is a staple of Texas sporting stadiums and tailgates, and consists of Fritos chips, chili, onions, and cheese. As Michael Hilton said in the November 1986 issue of Texas Monthly, “Frito pie is a marriage made in heaven…If you want to get technical, Fritos absorb grease, and good chili has a lot of grease. Furthermore, the Frito retains its crispness even when chock-full of grease. The Frito has integrity.” The classic way to serve is to simply rip open a bag of Fritos, layer the other ingredients on top, and eat it straight from the bag, but we’re partial to the slightly more dinner table-appropriate casserole dish versions.
Brown Eyed Baker, Bev Cooks
The exact origins of frito pie are unknown, with two legends competing for credit. One story says that the recipe was created by Daisy Dean Doolin, the mother of Frito-Lay founder, Elmer Doolin, who had supposedly been cooking up frito pie since fritos themselves originated. The other story credits the recipe to Teresa Hernandez, an employee at Woolworth’s lunch counter in Santa Fe, New Mexico, who claims to have come up with the recipe in the 1960’s. Woolworth’s (now called Five and Dime General Store) proudly serves frito pie to this day.
Burger via Confections of a Foodie Bride, grilled cheese via Taste Spotting
Frito pie may not be the best fit for a black tie, ballroom wedding, but at a more casual celebration, we especially love it as a late night snack. Set up a frito pie bar so everyone can add their favorite toppings themselves, or serve pre-assembled and passed out to guests. After working up an appetite on the dance floor, we imagine they’d be delighted to indulge in this savory treat!
Jake Holt via Southern Weddings, Stacey E. Photography via BZ Events
Have you ever had frito pie? What’s your favorite way to enjoy it? I’ve only had it in a paper bowl at a baseball game, but I must say, I’m intrigued by the frito pie burger pictured above!