If nachos aspire to be anything, it may be the sandwich, minus its dignity. After all, you can't have a sandwich without at least a slice of bread, just as nachos without chips would be…a mess. Sandwiches deserve their prestige. The category rests on its canon. Classics like the tuna melt, the PB&J, the jambon-beurre. For the nacho, several well-known iterations do appear consistently. For example, the real deal, Ignacio-style, my favorite, with single chips individually treated, prevalent in Texas and better restaurants nationwide (including Chili's, incidentally). What I call "The Molten Pile" is better known, ubiquitous in college towns, ski towns, every town, and more likely to be bad than good. Sometimes it's downright gross: scoops of sour cream that smother, chips turned gluey from too much cheese. I've developed survival tactics for lands unknown—I request all condiments on the side and no lettuce, no olives. Still, more than once I've sent back a plate for being cold and submerged in salsa. The truth is, for many people, line cooks included, nachos are garbage food, populist calories for drunks; they just don't deserve care.