Corn chips aren't just good for eatin'. They're also good for cookin'.
Almost from the day C. E. Doolin developed the Frito corn chip in 1932, people have used the iconic corn chip as an ingredient. According to Doolin family legend, C. E.'s mother Daisy created the first recipe using these corn chips when she added crushed Fritos into fruitcake batter. Luckily for us there are many recipes using Fritos that are a bit less … strange.
Many of these recipes can be found in advertisements and giveaways produced by the Fritos company and its successor Frito-Lay. In 1935 they began paying consumers $1 each for recipes using Fritos. Two years later the Cooking With Fritos
campaign was officially launched.
Depending on who you ask, the humble Fritos Pie was created in Daisy Doolin's kitchen, at the Santa Fe Woolworth's lunch counter, or at Spralins' Dairy Delight eatery in Arkansas. The recipe is simple: Acquire a small bag of corn chips. Slit open the top of the bag. Pour thick chili over the chips in the bag. Eat with a spoon. For a fancier preparation top with chopped onion and nooch sauce (a cheesy tasting sauce which often is called “nutritional yeast cheese sauce”). As a less messy variation dump the chips on a plate or in a bowl and smother in chili. Add a big glop of refried beans, salsa, and some sliced pickled jalapeños and you've created an entirely new dish – corn chip nachos! If this was the 1930s, you could have earned a dollar for your efforts.
Fritos Chili Pie
If you looked at the recipe for Fritos Pie and thought “that's not a pie!”, you were probably thinking of Fritos Chili Pie. It's a Fritos Pie casserole and closer to the spirit of the word “pie”. The recipe is credited to Fritos Company employee Nell Morris and was printed on displays of Fritos starting in 1962.
We took the 1962 recipe printed in Kaleta Dolin's Fritos Pie: Stories, Recipes, and More
and veganized it.
2 cups crushed corn chips
1 ¾ cup chili (15 ½ ounces by weight) thick chili
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup nooch sauce (or a meltable shredded vegan cheese)
- Set aside a handful of the crushed chips for use as a topping.
- Place half of the remaining crushed chips in the bottom of a casserole.
- Pour half the chili over the corn chips.
- Top with half the onion and half the nooch sauce.
- Repeat with the remaining ingredients, forming layers in the same order.
- Sprinkle the top with the chips set aside in step 1.
- Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 20 minutes.
The previous two recipes, as originally written, would have presented problems for C. E. Doolin. He was a Texan, and traditional Texas chili is just meat and spices. No beans allowed! Onion and tomato maybe, but any vegetarian-friendly ingredients are bit players in Texas chili. But Doolin's diet wasn't just vegetarian, it was also mostly raw. And a person can't live on snacks and entrees alone! Well, I suppose people can try, but those people lead a hollow and joyless existence. We all need a little dessert in our lives.
Enter Fritos Yum-Yums. This recipe is also credited to Nell Morris, and comes from a 50s era Cooking With Fritos
giveaway advertising booklet. The ingredient list and method will be familiar to anyone who has seen a raw dessert recipe. We've rewritten the recipe for formatting and copyright issues, but it did not need any further tweaking.
3/4 cup pitted dates
3 Tablespoons peanut butter
1/3 cup crushed corn chips
1. Cut dates into fine pieces.
2. Combine with peanut butter.
3. Roll into around 18 balls.
4. Roll the balls in crushed corn chips.
5. Chill in refrigerator to set the treats.
Mmmm. History. Tasty tasty history