Ages and ages before I was born, decades really, the recipe for Chex™ Party Mix appeared for the very first time in a 1952 edition of Life Magazine. Snack lore holds that the wife of a Ralston executive (pre-General Mills) thought of stirring together Wheat Chex and Corn Chex along with melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder and mixed nuts to create snack trash.
That’s a really great story or a promotional recipe from Ralston chefs responding to marketing requests for a savoy snack for the holidays or other special occasions. You decide. Me, I’m going with the wife story, I like it, fits right in with season and the results are the same, a gazillion boxes of cereal move off local market shelves every holiday season thanks to this original ad.
It’s exactly the kind of recipe my Grandmother would have responded to in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. In those days it was every second Saturday canasta night, lots of party snacks and the only 30-cup industrial coffee maker I ever got to know on a personal basis.
While I was too young to play canasta, the other kids and cousins and I would be sent to the den, given a bowl of “snack trash” and threatened with a razor strop if we misbehaved. Then the TV would be turned on and we’d watch Dick Clark’s Saturday Night Beech Nut Show, Leave It To Beaver and Have Gun Will Travel.
Have Gun Will Travel, there’s a message for the kids. What I got out of that show was that being a hired gun appeared to be a steady job in a growth industry, that gun slingers had a way with the ladies, that San Francisco appeared perpetually foggy and filled with the lonely wail of fog horns and, most importantly, that “Hey Boy” was a Chinese valet’s character name and not actually something you called out to someone you just passed on the street. And yes, you could have lived your whole life without ever knowing this little fact but now that you do, whenever you hear the expression, “Hey Boy!” for the rest of your life, you will think of San Fran native-born actor, Kam Tong.
Snack Trash enthusiasts need not despair the remaining few crumbs left over from earlier memories of huge seasonally depicted nickel and dime store tins piled high and filled to bursting with Snack Trash. How can all that cereal be gone? We only ate it for days and days, gave it away to friends, dumped it on enemies and, even after we‘d had our fill, three or four hours later, we’d enjoy a little more.
Our family’s alterations and additions to this famous holiday snack recipe are below and we’re making a big batch for the holidays. I imagine others have the same idea and now, maybe, so do you.
A lot, seriously, it makes a lot
You Will Need:
A huge pan for mixing – a large turkey roasting pan is good
A wooden spoon, something to turn the mix
Large rectangular pans or jellyroll pans for baking the trash
1 box Rice Chex
1 box Corn Chex
1 box Wheat Chex
1 box Cheerios
1/2 bag Thin Pretzel Sticks
.75 lb. Salted Butter – (3 Sticks)
1 lb. Pecans
1 lb. Mixed Nuts
3 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
3 TBS Chipotle Tabasco Sauce (our addition to the recipe, gives it a smoky taste)
1 TBS Celery Seeds
1 TBS Garlic Powder
Salt to Taste
Mix the cereals, pretzels and nuts together using your hands is helpful here.
Melt the butter in a saucepan,
then add the sauces and combine.
Pour the butter mixture over the cereal mix and combine.
Add the celery seeds, garlic powder and salt and stir the mixture.
Pour the mixture onto the baking pans or jellyroll pans and even it out.
Bake 2 hours at 250. Stir occasionally.