Frito pie is one of the unsung snack heroes of childhood, a self-contained insane mess of deliciousness that is a staple of many summer camp and diner experiences. Frito pie or a "walking taco" as our fantastic food editor Kat Kinsman informed me it is also called, has an incredibly easy premise. Take a bag of Fritos, preferably the snack-sized ones you can grab in vending machines. Open it. Dump in a few scoops of chili, maybe some scallions, cheese, sour cream, salsa, or a spritz of lime juice, and dig in. You could use a fork or chopsticks to avoid dropping chili and salsa on yourself, or just dig right in with your hands. Chips count as utensils.
It also happens that Frito pie is the perfect snack for a winter party gathering. It's self-contained, requires no dishes to clean up after, and infinitely customizable. If you have vegetarians, you can have veggie chili. Fritos are also gluten-free, though Frito Lay notes that they are processed in the same facility as products with gluten, so if you're extremely sensitive to gluten, you might want to swap them out for another crunchy gluten-free options. (Rice crackers are pretty great). No dairy? No worries, just leave off the cheese and sour cream. Want to dress it up as a brunch? Add a couple poached or fried eggs with the yolk still runny and drop 'em straight in the bag. Hot sauce is never going to go awry, if you need to amp the heat factor of the chili. Diced jalapenos could be could. Guacamole is welcome. You can also, as we did here, make a large-format Frito pie using a large bag of Fritos layered with the fixings—guests can just dip in as they want. The possibilities are endless and extremely crunchy.
Slit open Frito bags. Scoop in chili, runny egg, and whatever toppings you want. Serve.
1 snack-size bag of Fritos per person, or one larger bag of Fritos for sharing
Several servings of Texas Red-style chili, or the chili of your choice