It is time for National Corn Chip Day which is celebrated on January 29th!
Corn chips have been loved by millions for decades.
The best news of all is that you can enjoy corn chips in a more healthful way just by creating them with 100 percent whole food plant-based ingredients.
I will share my favorite recipe a bit later. For now, let’s find out a little bit more about corn chips.
What Is a Corn Chip?
A corn chip (friotes in Spanish) is a snack food that is made of cornmeal (from yellow or blue corn) which is then fried or baked.
Normally in the shape of a small noodle or scoop, corn chips are thick, rigid, and very crunchy, with a strong flavor of roasted corn.
Corn chips are eaten alone or with a dip such as salsa. In the Southwestern US, frito pie is a popular dish made from a blend of corn chips and chili.
A corn chip is technically different from a tortilla chip because tortilla chips go through a nixtamalization process where they are soaked in limewater to create a crisper, milder chip with a less rigid texture.
However, both are made from corn so in everyday language (and in recipes) the name ‘corn chip’ is often used for both.
The History Behind the Frito Corn Chip
Perhaps the most popular version, the Frito corn chip, hails from San Antonio, Texas.
During the Depression in the 1930s, a man named Elmer Doolin ran a confectionery in the city.
He wanted to add a corn snack to his counters but knew that tortillas were less than optimal because they quickly staled.
At a gas station, he found a Mexican man who was frying up and selling little bags of corn chips called fritos or ‘little-fried things.’
Doolin bought the recipe (reportedly for $100), refined it in his own kitchen, and then started selling them from the back of his Model T Ford.
Ultimately he mass-produced them under the name of Frito Corn Chips.
In 1945, he signed an agreement with Herman Lay allowing him to distribute his Fritos across the country.
The best way to celebrate corn chip day is to make a batch of homemade corn chips.
Here is my favorite recipe called Crispy Corn Chips.
Once you have tasted these oil-free delights, you will never be able to eat processed corn chips again!
Enjoy National Corn Chip Day!