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[personal profile] debgeisler
This is the original "Chex Mix" recipe. It is not what you will find today, and we called it "Scrabble" growing up. Can't tell you, 57+ years on, if it was called "Scrabble" because of some joint marketing effort between Ralston Purina and Parker Brothers...or if it started as a snack mix created by someone else...or if the family just ate a lot of it whilst playing the eponymous game (and trying to beat my maternal grandfather, Lewis R. Shannon,* who used to include names of archaic farm implements and other things). We ate a lot of it, later, playing pinochle. Many, many games of pinochle.

The "original" recipe you'll find online will involve butter or margarine as the fat in this snack food. The *real* recipe involves peanut oil. For quite a long time, peanut oil was horribly expensive, so my family only made this treat at holidays. Then, when we kids grew up and became settled adults, we sometimes got a hankering for it other times, and peanut oil either wasn't so dear or our criteria for "expensive" had changed (probably both).

Several notes:

(1) This used to be made with only two kinds of Chex cereals and with Cheerios. Since Cheerios are a General Mills product, I suspect the original recipe we use was *not* the one issued (somewhat later) by Ralston Purina. You can skip the Rice Chex and use Cheerios if you like. That's my preference (but not the rest of the family's), because you can then use the pretzels to stab the Cheerios and pretend you are still 8.

(2) Do not not NOT "cheap out" on the oil. My paternal grandparents, who would pinch a penny until it screamed for mercy, tried to make this without the peanut oil. In fact, my grandmother (who was a wonderful, gentle, generous woman, and who I miss to this day) used *melted Crisco* in this recipe, and it was horrid. Horrid. I shudder even thinking about it.

(3) The original recipe called for cans of mixed nuts. We kids hated mixed nuts. We hated Brazil nuts in particular. I detest cashews, too. So we talked Mom into making it with just peanuts, and that became the canonical version for our Christmases. If you like Brazil nuts, you can use mixed nuts...but this won't have a uniform consistency.
Scrabble Snack Mix

1 12 oz. box Rice Chex
1 12 oz. box Corn Chex
1 14 oz. box Wheat Chex
1 pound bag pretzel sticks
2 pound salted peanuts (I do not use the "Spanish" peanuts because I don't like the skins.)

1 bottle (24 oz.) peanut oil
1.5 tsp. onion powder
1.5 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (I use Lea and Perrins, since we do not like the extra salt in the cheaper brands.)
1.5 Tbsp. table salt (not kosher salt or anything with large crystals)

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large Dutch oven or two disposable turkey roasting pans. I use the latter and a scale to make sure that everything is divvied up evenly.

Mix the peanut oil, powders, Worcestershire sauce, and salt thoroughly (but do note that it's probably going to separate anyway, and you'll need to stir it three or four times while pouring it onto the dry ingredients). Since I usually have two pans, I also divide all of this in two, mix, then pour each half over one of the pans of dry ingredients.

Stir thoroughly to distribute oil, seasoning, etc.

Bake in a 250°F oven for 1 hour. Take out every 15 minutes and stir thoroughly, remembering that the oil will have sunk to the bottom of the pan(s).

Let cool uncovered for several hours (until it is at room temperature). It won't be really tasty or crunchy until it's cooled off. Honestly. And it will be *much* tastier 12-24 hours after that.

Store in air-tight containers for not more than 2 weeks.
*That's a picture of my grandfather...his wedding picture to my grandmother. Beautiful, weren't they? I think of both of them this time of year, and if you look at the dates of their deaths, you'll understand why. Despite their faults, I loved them. They made my mother possible...and my aunts Sue, Margie, and Judie.
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