Frito Pies in Santa Fe —
“Whatever you do, after eating this, do not move out of your seat for at least a half hour,” a friend warned.
I did not listen to my friend — “Don’t worry, I have a stomach of steel” — and I paid the price. As soon as I finished my meal, I stood up and took a walk; as soon as I stood up to take a walk, my stomach nearly fell out of me.
We were eating Frito pies in the old dining area of a long passed Woolworth five and dime in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I had never eaten anything that ever made me feel so bad, but yet oddly enough tasted so delicious.
“It was really crazy, it was just chili and cheese and Fritos, I have no idea why it made us so sick,” my wife summarized the experience.
Introduction to the Frito pie
“Have you ever eaten Frito pies before?” my friend Erin ask Chaya and I nearly as soon as we arrived in Santa Fe.
“Frito pies, they are like chili mixed with Fritos?”
“You mean Fritos like the yellow scoop shaped corn chips?”
I had never heard of anything more disgusting. I have eaten insects, I have eaten testicles, I ate a puppy once, I take food from dumpsters without hesitation, and I sometimes scoop up and eat roadkill, but I have hardly ever heard of a food as foul sounding as Frito corn chips mixed into a chili.
“That sounds disgusting.”
My friends disagreed. “It is actually really good.”
I must say that I’ve heard that before. But, nonetheless, I accepted their invitation to dine on the Santa Fe specialty.
The specified morning of the invitation came a little too soon for my unadventurous palate. “Do you guys want me to cook up some eggs for breakfast?” I offered.
Nope. They wanted Frito pies. I tried to get out of it. To no avail. My friends would not be deterred from providing me with a proper Santa Fe feast before continuing my drive across the country.
We went to the old Woolworth, and my friend Dave ordered us a round of Frito pies.
Origin of the Frito pie
There are a couple contrary opinions as to the origin of the Frito pie. One is that it was initially created by the founder of Frito-Lay’s mother, who prepared the delicacy soon after her son made his first corn chips in 1932. Another popularly held opinion was that the Frito pie was actually first made in the very same Woolworth dining area that we were sitting in sometime during the 1960’s. Whatever the case, an authentic culinary experience was just plopped down into my hand.
Eating a Frito pie
Like eating a lobster out of its own shell, or cooking a steak in its own juices, the Frito pie is served inside of a small Frito bag. I hesitantly peered inside. It was true, chili and cheese and peppers were poured over a bunch of corn chips inside of a Frito bag.
“It is good,” Dave reassured me before digging into his pie.
I dug in, too.
“Wow, wow wow,” I found myself saying as I withdrew the sucked clean plastic fork from my lips.
It was really good. In fact, I could not believe that anything originating from innards of a Frito bag could taste so delicious. The chili was good, the slightly soggy corn chips were good, the fact that I was eating an entire meal out of a Frito bag with a plastic fork in the home of the Frito pie was good, too.
I indulged. I smiled. I proclaimed myself a fool.
“I did not think Fritos soaked with chili could be so good,” I admitted.
I soon found myself at the bottom of the bag. I had just knocked off my first Frito pied. Satisfied, I arose to walk. I did not heed the warnings. Bad idea. I quickly stumbled back into my seat.
I felt as if my stomach was pumped to its capacity and the bulk head on the intake valve was blown wide open. I felt the Frito pie expanding in my stomach like a “soak in water and watch it grow” cereal box toy. I felt like I just consumed a lethal amount of rat poison. I imagined my stomach blowing up like a balloon and smushing out all of my other organs. I thought of Chaya at 9 months of pregnancy. I thought of a museum exhibit that I once saw about a man with an intestinal blockage who blew up. I felt ill.
I dreaded that I, too, would burst. I dreaded that my “stomach of steel” had become yet another victim of the Frito pie.
After learning my lesson I returned to my seat and sat out the required 30 minute waiting period before beginning the walk back across Santa Fe to Dave and Erin’s home. Our “walking” was actually more of leg dragging shuffle.
We all groaned.
“Now we know why people die here in their forties,” Dave admitted with a hand drawn near his stomach.
In my condition — after scarfing down an entire bag of Frito pie — I felt as if I would keel over and croak long before reaching that glory age.
Eating Frito pies in Santa Fe
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