Saturday, April 30, 2016

Childhood Food Memories


Whenever I talk to my lifelong friend Lynne, we usually find ourselves reminiscing about our teen years.  Those conversations remind me how good Lynne’s house always smelled when I’d stop by after school.  Her mother was a first-class baker, and she apparently spent many afternoons making bread, cakes, cookies and cloverleaf rolls.

Maybe Lynne’s mother, whom I will call Mrs. B, is the reason I was never daunted by yeast and or by baking in general.  I use several hundred pounds of flour every year and seldom botch what I bake.

Mrs. B’s recipe that I love best is her version of the classic Chex Party Mix.  This snack is an irresistible concoction of various Chex cereals, nuts and mini-pretzels mixed with butter, Worcestershire sauce and some spices.  It was the perfect accompaniment to summer evening bridge games with our friends.  I never excelled at bridge, but I could eat an entire bowl of this Party Mix at one sitting.
Chex Party Mix – 10-12 snack servings 
1 1/2 cups Corn Chex 
1 1/2 cups Rice Chex 
1 1/2 cups Wheat Chex 
1/2 cup shelled peanuts or mixed nuts 
1/2 cup mini-pretzels 
3 tablespoons butter 
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce 
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt (see NOTE below) 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/4 chili powder 
1/4 teaspoon onion powder 
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (omit or use less if you don’t like spicy food) 
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. 
Combine the cereals, nuts and mini-pretzels in a large bowl. 
Melt the butter in a small pot, turn off the heat and add the Worcestershire Sauce, seasoned salt, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper (if using).  Stir to combine and then pour over the cereal mixture. 
Spread the mixture onto a large cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the coating has baked onto the cereal, nuts and mini-pretzels.  Stir after 30 minutes to prevent burning. 
Let cool.  Store in an airtight container--if you haven’t eaten it all. 
NOTE: To make your own seasoned salt, combine the following ingredients in a cup: 
1 tablespoon salt 
1 teaspoon sugar 
3/4 teaspoon paprika 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
1/2 teaspoon turmeric 
Store unused seasoned salt in an airtight container.
          For easy-to-make recipes, order "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!"