The Perfect Storm of Nachos (or how I sneakily use nachos to explain emulsification and why you should care)

Happy Hour appetizers are as American as Thanksgiving dinner. You’re sitting around nice and toasted on a Thursday and, thankfully, one of your saintly friends orders sliders, wings and nachos.

The group pauses, inhales and desperately grabs at the loaded plates of greasy snacks. At some point in your food frenzy, if you’re lucky, there is a moment of nacho bliss.

This perfect storm of nacho heaven occurs when your chip is still crispy and warm, loaded with just the right amount of cheese, jalapeño, salsa and guacamole.

cheesecake f nachos

What does this have to do with emulsification?

Everything. That nacho has a balanced amount of each element of the dish. Resulting in the flavors melding and balancing simultaneously. It is the difference between a jar of separated olive oil and vinegar versus a fully incorporated vinaigrette.

oil-and-vinegar-

Go ahead, dip your bread in the mixture above. The oil will absorb unequally to the vinegar resulting in a bite that’s either too tangy or not tangy enough.

An emulsified vinaigrette does the work you.

There are many ways to emulsification: egg yolks, mustard, garlic or just simple agitation.

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Even peanut butter is in on the act. Natural peanut butters separate. Name brand peanut butters are whipped with hydrogenated oils. These oils are pumped full of extra hydrogen which allows anything the oil is incorporated into to maintain its shape. More importantly, the product is shelf stable and can more easily distribute that fatty, salty, sweet goodness of peanut butter equally to every part of your tongue.

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Good for you or not, emulsified foods taste better. Case in point Thanksgiving where we should all give thanks to buttery mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and that sexy after dinner Manhattan cocktail. Shaken or stirred.

This year, I give thanks for perfect storm nachos and all other emulsified foods. Now go stuff yourselves.

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