Our small group at church is a wonderful bunch of people, who have helped keep me sane in the craziness of moving to a new place and bringing up two boys. Between us we represent quite a number of different nationalities, so when we had to set up a table at church to tell people who we are, someone suggested that we could bring food from our respective countries. A lady of Indian origin volunteered to bring onion bhajis, and I tried to think of something distinctively American.
After flicking through a few recipe books, I settled on Chex mix as something that was well-known in the US, easy to make for a crowd, and unlikely to make a huge mess. Chex cereal is not easily obtainable here, so I fudged together a recipe with Shreddies, Cheerios, pretzels and nuts, baked it up and got ready to go.
|There wasn't much left by the time I realised it might be good to have a photo!|
The Sunday in question was one where I was scheduled to wrangle small children in creche. I dumped the bowl of Chex mix on our group table with little explanation, and ran off to play toy kitchens and sing, "The Wheels on the Bus" umpteen times. Little did I know how much confusion I was leaving behind.
At the end of the service my bowl was returned to me with, "Well, that sure caused some conversation!" but it wasn't until the next Wednesday meeting that I got, "What on earth was that stuff??" One guy said, "It looked like cereal without milk, so I tucked in expecting it to be sweet..." and another person's best guess was, "Shreddies covered in Marmite". When I revealed that the main flavouring was in fact Worcestershire sauce, there was general bemusement that anyone would think of adding that to their breakfast cereal!
I guess Americans do have a greater appreciation of that kind of sweet/savoury combination. And just to prove that it really is a thing, here's the original manufacturer's recipe.
Chex party mix
Just be glad I didn't decide to try the Surprise Salad recipe. Ingredients: beetroot, lemon Jello, sugar, mayonnaise and horseradish. I don't think any number of years living in the States could persuade me to like that one!
Martha's Anglicized Chex mix
4 cups Shreddies
2 cups Cheerios
2 cups mini pretzels
1 cup unsalted mixed nuts (I found cheap ones in the crisp aisle)
4 oz margarine or butter
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Aromat All Purpose Savoury Seasoning (with the spices)
1 tsp hot sauce
Melt the butter or margarine with the seasonings. Dip a Shreddie in to see if you like it, and add a splash more of anything you feel necessary (I can't honestly remember the quantities I used, so this is only a rough guide!).
Put the cereals, pretzels and nuts in a large bowl. Stir in the seasoned melted butter. Spread on a couple of baking trays and bake at 120°C until crispy (maybe half an hour? I messed up by putting it in too hot an oven, burning half a tray and then leaving the rest in the warming oven to kind of dry out, so I've no idea how long it really should have taken). Or you can follow the manufacturer's recipe above and try microwaving it instead.
Try not to eat it all at once!
(By the way, the recipe I mostly based this one on had the marvellous name of Mountain Trash! And yes, that was the same cookbook as the Surprise Salad.)