“Stop eating the Chex Mix!” and other Thanksgiving memories
Our Thanksgiving traditions, like most, center on food — but not necessarily in a traditional way.
On any given Thanksgiving at our house, you could count on the carrots getting burnt (we were always secretly thrilled), the kitchen sink clogging up and and siblings accusing each other of hogging the Chex Mix.
We long ago solved the first two (bought a plumber’s snake and nixed carrots from the menu). But Chex Mix is a different story. Chex Mix, not turkey, is the true main course of our Thanksgiving holiday.
Recipes for Chex Party Mix appeared on boxes of Chex cereal in 1952, so it’s been part of our Thanksgiving since early childhood. While the bagged version is our go-to road trip buy at fuel stops, for Thanksgiving nothing but the homemade kind will do.
Mom is in her 80s, and you’d think she’d hand over the sometimes tedious job, but she gets an early start because she knows everyone’s preferences. That is how we ended up with bagel chips — seriously — in this year’s batch. Mom was clearly pandering to my sister-in-law. If some of us had it our way, it would be nothing but Rice and Corn Chex, pretzel thins, Cheerios, some cashews and double the butter and Worcestershire sauce.
Despite the varying preferences, Mom usually scores a Chex Mix home run. However, we have not forgotten The Chex Mix Tragedy of the early 90s, when she substituted Honey Nut Cheerios. The result was akin to Sweet and Sour Chex Mix. We still shudder at the memory.
We have other emotional ties to food. Many a childhood Friday night was spent huddled in front of the TV, watching “Fright Night” while consuming copious amounts of Coca Cola, Heyday Bars (Nabisco, please bring them back!) and Snyder’s Bavarian Pretzels.
But when it comes to the ultimate emotional tie to food, nothing says Thanksgiving like Chex Mix . . . except maybe a cold glass of Chardonnay to go with it. (We suggest J. Lohr or Woodbridge.)
So cheers to Chex Mix, and here’s wishing everyone a comforting, if not gourmet, Thanksgiving.