Pie-a-Day #2: Eddie Lin’s Frito Pie

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Eddie Lin writes the blog DeepEndDining.com.  He is a frequent contributor to Good Food and he is the author of Extreme Cuisine.

Frito Pie

I don’t need to tell you that I like weird food.  But weird doesn’t have to mean scary or gross.  In fact, somewhere in me is a soft spot for certain American culinary concoctions that are, well, wacky, and capture my imagination or simply put a smile on my face.

Americana edibles that have a unique spin put on them whether it’s wrapping something in bacon ad infinitum like the Bacon Explosion or, perhaps, it’s a time consuming technique involving the stuffing of one smaller bird into a slightly larger bird and then into another larger bird like an edible babushka doll i.e. the turducken.

Then there’s the unlikely combination culinary creation, you know, like your chocolate falling into my peanut butter kind of situation.

One crazy combo that warms both my heart and, eventually, stomach whenever I come across it is the Frito Pie.  I heart the Frito Pie.  It incorporates pop culture, sustenance, inventiveness and deliciousness all in one serving.

A basic Frito Pie is made up of chili, cheese and corn chips.  That’s the frame of it, but it can be dressed up in lots of different ways.

It can also be served a few ways.  One way is putting all the ingredients in a large pan and baking the pie, resulting in sort of a casserole.

The way I love it, though, is really simple.  And it’s the way I enjoyed it in Austin, Texas at Shady Grove restaurant.  There, a single serving bag of Fritos corn chips is ripped open then some of their famous sirloin chili is ladled on top, next a handful of cheddar and jack cheese is tossed in, and finally a bit of chopped sweet onions and spicy jalapeños are sprinkled on.

You eat the whole thing with a spoon straight out of the bag.  It’s a beautiful thing.