Disney History Lession - Doritos

How many of you have a bag of chips in your pantry? Raise your hands... I'll wait. Now keep them up if that bag of chips happens to be Doritos. That's what I thought. Doritos are addictive. They are the far ahead winner for my uncle, and he'll be the first to tell you that they go with pretty much anything. Slammer. Snack. Potluck. Frito-Lay said the same thing on the original Doritos packaging in 1968. "Serve Doritos Tortilla Chips with lunch, supper, buffet, or cookout. They're delicious with sandwiches, salads, soups and dips." My uncle would argue against the salad, but I'm certain I can find an aunt who would whip out her recipe for taco salad with crushed Doritos in the ingredient list. Did you know that Doritos got their start in Disneyland?
Photo Credit: Disneyland Today via Twitter

Walt Disney was on a corset tight budget when he built Disneyland in 1955. To get additional funding for rides and restaurants he partnered with 30+ companies like Carnation, Coca-Cola, Chicken of the Sea and Kodak for sponsorship. Frito (soon be be Frito-Lay) sponsored Casa de Fritos. The restaurant served Mexican-inspired food including tacos, Frito pie (of course), enchiladas, and tamales featuring a bag of Fritos with each meal. My personal favorite on the menu is the "Tacup" also known as the grandfather of the taco salad in a fried tortilla shell.
Food mythology recalls a salesman for the company that provided the tortillas for the restaurant, Alex Foods, noticed cooks from Casa de Fritos throwing stale tortillas in the garbage at the end of the day. He recommended they cut the tortillas into chips and fry them for customers. Tortilla chips became a hit among park guests.
When Arch West, marketing executive for Frito-Lay, found out about the secret menu item he immediately asked Alex Foods to start producing them officially. Doritos, which means "little golden things," made a plain Jane appearance in 1964 with Toasted Corn Taste. Popularity among the general public matched Disneyland guests and production was 24/7 at Alex Foods. Frito-Lay moved Doritos to their own plants a few years later. In 1968 they released Taco Flavor. My uncle's favorite, Nacho Cheese, wasn't released until 1974. If you're like me and gravitate towards Cool Ranch, you had to wait until 1986!
Although the original Casa de Fritos changed names, sponsors, and was eventually relocated, a Mexican restaurant still exists in Disneyland called Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante and serves burritos, nachos, and enchiladas. Although you'll have to go to another part of the park entirely to find your Frito pie and Tacups have been completely retired. Rancho del Zocalo is currently sponsored by La Victoria.
Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Check out the recipe below for Frito Pie also known as Firefly Chips from the secret menu at the Refreshment Corner and Taco Salad also known as a mid-western potluck staple!

Frito Pie (aka Firefly Chips)

  • 1 bag of Fritos corn chips (regular or flavored)
  • 1 can of chili
  • cheddar cheese, shredded
  • picked or fresh jalapenos
  • diced onion, optional 
  • sour cream, optional

Instructions: Using individual Fritos bag or bowl layer with Fritos, heated chili, shredded cheddar cheese, jalapenos, and optional diced onion. Enjoy with fingers or a spoon!

Photo Credit: Julie's Eats and Treats

Mid-Western Taco Salad

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 large head of iceberg lettuce, shredded or cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1-2 cups of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1-2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 - 1 cup southwestern salad dressing
  • 1 12 oz bag of nacho cheese Doritos
  • 1/4 cup diced onion, optional
  • 1/2 cup corn, optional
  • 1 can of beans, black or chili beans, optional

Tips: Dressing can be varied based on preference for Italian, Catalina, Southwestern, ect. If making ahead for a party, mix together all ingredients except tomatoes, cheese, and Doritos. Save these until just before serving to prevent sogginess.

Instructions: Brown beef in skillet, combine according to package directions with seasoning mix. Crush Doritos in bag with hands or rolling pin to desired size. In a large mixing bowl combine beef, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, dressing, and Doritos. Mix thoroughly. Serve!

My uncle called and wanted to know where the Slammer and Doritos recipe is...

Slammer + Doritos

  • 2 slices of white bread
  • 1-2 pieces of Kraft American Cheese
  • 1 bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos

Instructions: Place one slice of bread in slammer (sandwich) machine using marks as a reference. Cover with slices of cheese as desired. Cover with second slice of bread. Close machine and wait until light indicates slammer is ready. Carefully remove from machine and cut along diagonal impression with a knife. Pile Doritos on plate or eat directly from bag.

If you have no idea what a Slammer is now you know! You are also completely equipped to serve food at a last minute get together or neighborhood potluck. Comment below with your favorite flavor of Doritos!


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