Guilty Pleasures: Gas Station Nachos

I think we can all agree that gas station nachos are disgusting. And yet! Sometimes you just gotta try them.
I usually get lured into buying gas station nachos when I'm driving home from visiting friends in Seattle late at night. You're on the road, it's late, you're exhausted, and starving. Maybe you have to stop and get gas. Maybe you pop inside to buy a Coke and use the bathroom. And there they are, the little cardboard tray, the mysteriously round chips, and the formidable pump dispenser.
Nothing says "delicious cuisine" like a pump dispenser!
When I went looking for anecdotes about gas station nachos, I discovered that most people who confessed to eating them were pregnant women. Pregnancy does some weird things to your appetite (so I have heard) and I guess "develop a craving for gas station nachos" is just one more thing to fear about pregnancy!
AM/PM and 7-11 are the best place to buy these nachos. You can often find them at other, off-brand gas stations. But I would be leery of them. At least AM/PM and 7-11 have corporate policies in place, you know? Who knows where that cheese really comes from, or how long those chips have been sitting out.
AM/PM sells a kit that includes a plastic tray with a domed plastic lid. This is helpful, because if you buy your chips in an open cardboard boat, you will invariably drop the entire thing on the way back to your car. Or worse, on your car's upholstery.
The key to proper gas station nachos is to apply two levels of cheese-flavored food product. Put a layer of chips in the dish, apply a few pumps of hot cheese topping, add more chips, and give it a final good dose of topping. Then sprinkle it liberally with those little canned jalapeno slices. I mean, come on - in for a penny, in for a pound, amirite?
If you're a little squeamish about eating non-pre-wrapped food from a gas station,  swing by a Taco Bell. Their nachos side dish (not the fancy Nachos Bell Grande or whatever, mind you) is identical, except that it uses a slightly better class of chip. And you get the cheese on the side in a little plastic cup, which helps ensure that your chips don't get soaked and soggy and disgusting.
To recreate gas station nachos at home, unless you're willing to buy a giant commercial-sized can of cheese sauce (only $35!) your best bet is to buy a jar of Tostitos "salsa con queso." This is sold in squat little jars at the grocery store on the chip aisle.
(Gasoline fumes not included!)

Credits: 

Photo credit: Flickr/JacobMetcalf

Comments