Arizona has a lot of “official” things… there’s our “official” state neckware: the bolo tie; our “official” state reptile: the ridge-nosed rattlesnake; we even have an “official” state gun: the Colt revolver. So it only seems fitting that we have an “official” state food… and fortunately for my belly and yours, two family-owned restaurants — Macayo’s and El Charro — are already making a BIG push to have the chimichanga be just that.
And yes, you read that last line right… the chimi.
For those of you who are not familiar with the chimichanga, a chimi (local speak) is, essentially, a deep-fried burrito… OK, this may not sound impressive, but what is kind cool is that the chimi was actually developed here in Arizona — or so claim the folks behind Macayo’s and El Charro. According to an article in the Tucson Citizen, “Each establishment lays claim to creating the chimi (1946 for Macayo’s and 1951 or ’52 for El Charro), but they’re putting their differences aside to promote the ‘Check Yes for Chimi’ campaign.”
Talk about a house united when it comes to food… two rival restaurants joining forces so Arizona can lay claim to the chimi. Alas, Check Yes for Chimi may already be in trouble…
According to the Tucson Citizen:
Facing a down economy, a pile of state debt and an election year, lawmakers are in a somber mood. “When you deal with a lighthearted bill like that, people think you’re not keeping your eye on the ball,” said Sen. Adam Driggs, R-Phoenix. He recalled the derision that greeted Rep. Frank Pratt’s bill last year to make milk the official state beverage. Lawmakers soured on that idea, and the bill went nowhere. It took three years for the Legislature to approve a bill making “the Grand Canyon State” Arizona’s official nickname. It passed this year.
Politics aside, taste is another serious issue… and by taste, I mean palate… again, per the Tucson Citizen:
House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, said the T-bone steak would be a fitting state food. Fry bread would be a better option, Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, said. It would honor the state’s Native American culture. (South Dakota claimed fry bread in 2005.) Or perhaps the raspado, a Mexican snow cone. Driggs suggested the burrito as a healthier option.
Who knew the chimi would such a divisive issue?
Anyway, tell us what you think about the chimi being our “official” state food on Facebook…