Saturday, January 29, 2011

Frito Pie: How Does It Work?

Hank and Bobby Hill of King of the Hill
So you will never guess what I made for dinner tonight. Yes, I actually had Frito pie for the first time. Wolf had brought home supplies for making it from the store yesterday after I wouldn't stop talking about taco-in-a-bag and... well... this. I couldn't help it. This type of thing is really mysterious to me... and strangely fascinating.

Technically, I guess Frito pie came up yesterday in the same context as the infamous taco-in-a-bag. As you recall, people in that LJ community of mine were talking about foods that are absolute staples in some regions of the United States, but completely unheard of in others. However, unlike taco-in-a-bag, some of the people who had never seen or eaten Frito pie in real life had at least heard of it thanks to the animated show King of the Hill. It was a staple at their meals on the show, so it's impossible for "Frito pie" not to at least ring a bell if you watch it.

Actually, Hank Hill's love of "Frito pie with Wolf brand chili" brought up a lot of questions for me about this dish that I've had for a long time. How exactly does one go about making a pie out of something like Fritos? Is it actually any good? Why does Hank like it so much? Is this a real thing that people actually eat or is the show somehow trying to crack a joke about Hank's family that's just going over my head?

I ate mine before taking a pic, so enjoy this substitute pie.
I'm pretty sure I must have looked it up at the time or Googled for a recipe, because by the time it came up again yesterday, I actually did know what it was. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't the reality of what Frito pie actually is. Yes, it was a real thing and not just in the King of the Hill universe. However, it was not a pie of any sort that I'm familiar with and it was not really the kind of thing I'd actually consider dinner food either. A guilty pleasure type snack? Yes, absolutely. An actual dinner to feed to growing children or guests? Hell no. It's like the idea of taco-in-a-bag being served as a school lunch. Something about that kind of horrifies me and I just can't wrap my head around it.

So, how do you make Frito pie? Well, I'd write out a recipe for you or something, but I'd honestly feel like a tool even calling it that. You basically just take a bunch of Frito's corn chips and toss them in the bottom of a casserole dish. Then you open up a can or two of chili and dump it over the corn chips. Then you sprinkle the top with cheese and bake until the whole mixture is hot. Then you eat it... preferably with a side salad or some sort of vegetables, I would hope, although I don't think most people do that. That's it though.

Yes, it's Frito-pie-in-a-bag. I can't believe it either.
I didn't actually make my Frito pie that way though. I decided to really ghetto it up, because I was feeling hungry and lazy. I put some Frito's in the bottom of a regular bowl, put one can of chili in over them, and microwaved it. Then when it came out, I stirred it up a little bit and sprinkled some cheese over the top. I guess I didn't really see the point in prolonging the cooking process of something so simple and basically... already cooked? It's made completely out of convenience food, for Pete's sake.

It came out just fine though. Actually, it was better than I expected... sort of like a lazy tamale or enchilada. The corn chips kind of have a way of soaking up part of the sauce of the chili without actually becoming soggy, so that part of it was actually pretty interesting. The chili was this really good low fat beef chili from Dennison's (hey, we have to cut the calories where we can). I imagine this would be a fun way to use up leftover homemade chili and add some bulk to it at the same time as well. I would actually happily eat this again, although obviously not all the time. Like I said, this type of thing is "treat food" to me, not a staple.

And for those of you who are taco-in-a-bag enthusiasts, you'll be happy to know (if you don't already) that people like to make -- wait for it -- Frito pie in a bag, too. Basically you do the same shit you do with taco in a bag, but with a snack size bag of Frito's, some sort of chili, cheese, and I guess whatever else you like to eat with your chili or regular-version Frito pie. Then you grab a plastic fork and hit the road. I recommend just making it yourself at home on "lazy nights" though, as opposed to paying $5-6 for that crap at a fair or stadium though. Sure, it's pretty good for what it is... but I will never see it as being worth paying that much money for.
Post a Comment