Always small for my age, I was never a gluttonous child. I was greedy, yes, undeniably so. By —the kind of bratty big sister who would cut the cake into two vastly unequitable slices and intimidate my little sister into selecting the smaller one any time my parents defaulted to the hypothetically fair and balanced “one child cuts, the other picks” approach to dessert distribution. But I was simply too small and too picky of an eater to ever veer into gluttony.

There were—there are—two exceptions. Special cases, if you will.

Case Number One: My grandmother’s matzo ball soup, aka Jewish penicillin, which inspired a years-long unspoken rivalry between me and my cousin. Who could consume the most matzo balls? Did we really love matzo balls that much, or was eating 20 or more in one sitting an easy shorthand to show to our grandmother how much we loved and appreciated her? These days, my matzo balls are as good as hers were, but without my affectionate Granmma to refill my bowl I never eat more than a few at a time.

Case Number Two: My grandfather’s Chex mix, a fixture at my dad’s parents’ house for Christmas, and usually other major holidays as well. Each year I’d sit near the Christmas tree and sneak handfuls of Chex mix out of the snack bowls on each side table, rotating bowls around the room to keep the ratios even as I picked around the nuts and carefully selected my preferred Chex and pretzels. I’d do this until someone noticed and yelled at me, or complained to my parents.

After my grandpa died, we had a couple of Christmases without any Chex mix. Eventually my dad started making it, experimenting with the family recipe. Spicy chex mix? Sure, of course. Throw some Arrogant Bastard in there? Why the hell not… for years after he discovered Stone Brewery down the road from his house, he pretty much put Arrogant Bastard into everything, as I recall. The recipe I use nowadays is a mish-mash of my grandpa’s original recipe, my dad’s modifications, and my own slight tweaks. But my dad continues to experiment, so his version is invariably better year after year.

“Dad’s Revised Party Mix”

The updated original

  • 1 box each (12 cups)
    • rice chex
    • wheat chex
    • corn chex
    • Cheerios
    • Cheeze-It
  • 14 to 20 oz small pretzel sticks
  • 2.5 Lbs mix nuts

  • 1 1/4 C melted butter, margarine, or Smart Balance
  • 1 C Soy Sauce
  • 1 C Worcestershire or vegetarian Worcestershire
  • 2 T seasoned salt (optional)
  • 3 T garlic powder
  • 3 T onion powder
  • 3 T celery salt

Bake 250 degrees for 2 hour, stir every 15 minutes.

“Dad’s Party Mix - for Kaiti December 2018 Recipe”

Last year’s Christmas shipment ❤️

Dry Ingredients

  • 14 oz Wheat Chex
  • 12 oz Rice Chex
  • 12 oz Corn Chex
  • 20 oz Cheerios
  • 24 oz Cheese-Its
  • 16 oz Bag of stick pretzels
  • 24 oz Blue Diamond Smokehouse almonds


Combine in a pot and heat until the butter melts:

  • 1/4 Cup of each:
    • Garlic Powder
    • Onion Powder
    • Chili Powder
    • Smoked Paprika
    • Ground black pepper
    • Celery Seed
    • Season Salt
  • 18.75 Oz Annie’s Organic Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Lb Organic Butter
  • 12 oz Stone Ruination beer

(This liquid is added to thin out the sauce, so it can be spread more evenly, however this also means the finished mixture contains a lot of liquid which now must be dried out slowly.)

  1. Place all the dry ingredients in a large plastic bag and gently mix.
  2. Pour a small amount (~2 cups) into each of several large containers.
  3. Pour the sauce over the dry ingredients in each container using a slotted spoon to help spread the sauce evenly.
  4. Mix the sauce and dry ingredients with a rubber bowl scraper, trying to not crush the dry ingredients.
  5. Continue adding dry ingredients to each container and then adding sauce and then mixing.
  6. Repeat these steps until all the dry ingredients and sauce are mixed.
  7. Place the sauce-covered dry ingredients into a suitable container(s) and bake at 200F to 225F for as long as it takes to completely dry the mixture. This might take 2 to 10 hours depending on how thin the mixture is in the container. If the oven temperature is greater than 225F, the mixture may turn dark brown – which is not good.

Depending on how many nuts are used this makes approximately 4.23 kg or about 9.3 pounds of mix or 40 to 48 cups of dry mix.