Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Authentic Original Original 1952 Chex Party Mix

The authentic, original, original Chex Party Mix was very simple - containing only Wheat and Rice Chex cereals, butter, Worcestershire sauce, salt and garlic salt. As pictured, I've made a few changes, including substituting Corn Chex for the wheat and adding thin pretzel sticks.

Original 1952 Chex Party Mix

We were talking on Facebook the other day about the many varieties of Chex Mix there are these days - seems a lot of us make multiple batches of it over the holidays because it's a nice snack to have around to keep the hungrys down and everybody out from under your feet in the kitchen. I confess to being pretty old school with my version, and it isn't that I don't love the add-ins that everybody has put in over the years, I do! It's just that for some reason I find a version pretty close to what I call the "Authentic Original Original 1952 Chex Party Mix" to be the version that is still my own personal favorite.

I know it sounds funny to say authentic original original but there is a reason for that, you see, because there are actually many different versions of Chex Party Mix out there that lay claim to being the original. Best I can tell, this one that appeared in an ad in Life magazine in June 1952, just two years after the launch of Rice Chex cereal, appears to be the true, authentic, original, original Chex Party Mix recipe.

It's funny that for many of us, we only relate Chex cereals to the party mix, but I actually love the cereal itself and Rice Chex is my favorite of the three, followed by corn and then wheat. Chex cereals have actually been around a much longer time than I realized with the first version being Wheat Chex, launched in 1937 by the Ralston Purina Company, followed by Rice Chex in 1950. The Ralston cereal division was acquired by General Mills in 1997. Just a little Chexistory for you there.

While even on the Chex website, General Mills now lays claim to a totally different "original" recipe, that recipe is not the one I remember, so I set out to try to find it, and in my research found the ad. Best I can tell, the first then unofficially named party mix using the two cereals, appeared in that ad in Life magazine on June 16, 1952. As you can see, while the popularity of the cereal party mix has grown to such heights that it now even has its own website at http://chexpartymix.com, it actually started with very humble beginnings.

The version that I remember making from the 70s, might have been referred to as "Traditional Chex Party Mix," but I find that there are even multiple variations of tha "traditional" version! My favorite is pretty old school, and fairly close to the original, with a slight increase in some of the ingredients - namely more cereal, more butter, more peanuts, and the addition of thin pretzel sticks, plus lowering the baking temp a bit. I find 300 degrees too high, and some folks actually take it down to 200 degrees for a longer period of time. You can check out the Chex website for all the different variations and dozens of recipes from sweet to savory, but I wanted a place to plant the one that is most fond in my memory, right here, and it's a nice reminder that it'll make a great munchie for any holiday party.

Open your mouth,
Shut your eyes...

Take a wonderful
BITE SIZE surprise!

Ad Insert Recipe Text:

The Authentic Original Original 1952 Chex Party Mix

Wonderful nibbling
at snack-time!

Try this new PARTY MIX

Add 1/2 c. butter in shallow baking pan. Stir in 1 T. Worcestershire sauce. Add 2 c. Wheat Chex, 2 c. Rice Chex, and 1/2 c. nuts. Sprinkle with 1/4 t. salt and 1/8 t. garlic salt; mix well. Heat 30 mins in 300 degree oven, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool.
It would take me pages and pages to go through all of the variations that this original recipe has transitioned through, but I can say what some of the most common changes seem to be. Some like to use bacon drippings in place of the butter - I've tried both and prefer the butter over the bacon fat. I know. Hard to believe, huh? The microwave seems to have become a favorite tool over the oven, but I still prefer slow oven toasting (imagine that!) myself.

Seasoned salt (like Lawry's) seems to have taken over for the old salt and garlic salt combination, but I prefer using my favorite Cajun seasoning there myself. It adds just a bit of punch but not too much. Others add cayenne pepper and hot sauce to the butter and Worcestershire sauce blend, and Cheez-It or goldfish crackers, bagel chips, often garlic flavored, and substituting mixed nuts for the peanuts are also common changes these days. Back in the 70s, a lot of folks used Cheerios in the mix along with the pretzel sticks and it earned the name "Nuts and Bolts." Of course, that's only to name a very few of the wide range of variations to Chex Mix there are now. I still lean toward this original version myself.

How do you like to mix up your party mix? Here's how I make mine.

If you think this sounds yummy, I'd sure it if you'd click to pin it, tweet it, stumble it, or share it on Facebook to help spread the word - thanks!


Recipe: Chex Mix Old School My Way

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 30 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 cups Wheat, Rice or Corn Chex, or any combination
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)
  • 2 cups dry roasted peanuts
  • 2 cups of thin pretzel sticks, optional

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Melt the butter in a shallow baking pan. Stir the Worcestershire sauce and Cajun seasoning into the butter. Add the cereal, nuts and pretzel sticks; mix well. Bake at 275 degrees F for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on December 27, 2011
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  1. Our friend brought me a container of hers for Christmas and I love it. I don't know her recipe, but it tastes similar to what I remember my mom making - with the butter and garlic obvious. Your recipe sounds like it might taste the same.

  2. Chex mix has always been a great snack!

  3. This is the way I like it. I can't stand all of the packaged varieties because NONE of them taste like the batches that my mom made back in the 70's. This looks and sounds just like it.

  4. I got some Chex Mix this Christmas, and the preparer added pretzel sticks, mixed nuts, and Bugles. I admit, I just picked through and ate all the Bugles. =)

  5. Hi!

    My Mom still makes that every year. She makes the original. Her recipe if from the 50s'...


  6. oh how we love this stuff around here, happy new year, mary!! anne

  7. What a great graphic -- that ad looks like it might indeed be the archetype for all the Chex Mixes of the last 60 years.

    My mom had a recipe for Party Mix -- I remember her making it in the 60s. It was part butter and part vegetable oil -- a lighter flavor than all butter. Her recipe also called for some Cheerios along with the Chex.

    I myself like to cut back on the butter, and add either/and some sesame oil, bacon grease, sometimes a dash of lemon juice or hot sauce. I'm all for staying pretty traditional, but adding a tiny change to keep things interesting.

    Your recipe sounds nicely buttery, but lighter on the Worcestershire sauce than I might be used to.

  8. I use cajun seasoning as well. I prefer all crispix to the chex. And I add in cheezits and pretzels, and trade the peanuts in for cashews. It isn't the holidays without some homemade chex mix AKA "trash".

    1. I'm in North Carolina and we always called it "trash" too. I remember my mother making this yummy holiday mix (the original above) in the late 1960s when I was very young. God bless her - she was a wonderful mom who always did her best by us 4 boys. Miss her.

  9. Much more garlic powder, extra thin pretzels, Cheerios, mixed nuts and lotsa hot sauce adorn my grandmother's recipe, which is treasured as it's hard to afford all those mixed nuts. We make it using entire boxes of cereal! Low and slow cooking (225) for two hours, stirring every 20 minutes. Amazingly addictive!

  10. That Authentic Original Original recipe is the one I remember from growing up! I have to confess...it is older than me, but only by a couple of years! Thank you so much Mary!
    Happy New Year!

  11. I can't believe you posted the recipe I have been searching for for YEARS!!! My babysitter in the 50's used to make this stuff around Christmas. I have tried over and over to find HER recipe. NOTHING ever compared to "Hallberg's Nuts and Bolts" as she called it! THANK YOU for giving me this gift! It has brought back many childhood memories!

  12. Chex Mix has been around since 1952???? Time flies when you're having fun. Happy New Year!

  13. I had no idea this recipe has been floating around for so long! My family has been making what we call "Scrabble" since the 70s, and our recipe calls for two kinds of Chex, Cheezits, Cheerios, pretzel twists, mixed nuts, and a yummy secret ingredient - Cornuts! The sauce is very spicy, with quite a bit of Worcestershire and Tabasco, plus garlic and onion powder and barbecue seasoning. It's THE BEST!!

  14. Great Post!! I got out my mom's old recipes this trip back home and did the very same thing with the chex party mix recipes. I remember it being so different than the current version I like the old version so much better. We also have the puppy chow and the golden crunch which are wonderful too. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year !

  15. I agree Angela! Sometimes over the years there are so many changes to the old recipes we remember the best that we forget how they started. There are literally so many versions of the "original" that aren't close to the original I remembered, so that's why I wanted to plant this one where I knew I could find it! Happy New Year to you too!!

  16. This original is SO much better than the version now. Thanks for posting - brought back memories!

  17. Yum, yum.......this wonderful recipe can't be beat. Thanks so very much for posting it. I had lost my original recipe and was simply "winging" it. My family loves this and I give it as gifts for the holidays.. Thanks again and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!

    1. I know there are hundreds of versions out there now, but this is the one I still love the most! Happy holidays to you too Becky!

  18. You made my day!! I couldn't remember the recipe my mom used and there it was on your site!! I had to share it on my blog with a link back here! I'm tripping down memory lane...again...Thanks!! Much Peace!! dawn

    1. You're welcome Dawn! There have been so many changes made to this recipe over the years, I wanted to preserve the way I remembered it!

  19. My mom made chex mix every Christmas and for camping. I am in charge of making the original party mix for my niece's graduation open house in a couple of weeks. Can't wait to make it.

  20. Not even close to my moms 1960's version which included all 3 chex cereals,Kix cereal,Cheerios,nuts and mister salty pretzels. A pound of fried crumbled bacon along with the grease and drippings poured over the top with a dash of Tabasco sauce. Onion salt and Garlic salt. Then baked and stirred in the oven. She gave it as Christmas gifts and served it at our New Years parties. Thanks for sharing yours, but nothing compares to Moms party mix. :)

    1. Well, okay.. thanks for sharing that! I guess LOL... but it IS my website, so of course I'm sharing MY recipe here, not your mom's!! :)

      But seriously... crumbled bacon and hot sauce? Can't go wrong with that! I'm sure that it's divine, but much more involved than the original mix, which is what this post is about.

  21. This is great! I'm throwing a retro '50s/'60s cocktail party and was looking for this recipe. Thanks so much!

  22. I love this party mix. My grandmother used to call it Trash, and that's what I know it as. Her recipe used a mix of seasoned salt, onion powder and garlic powder. I'm also one of those who use goldfish crackers, and instead of peanuts, I like to use a can of roasted pecans and a can of roasted walnuts. Those craggy nuts catch a lot of the butter/worchestersire sauce mix and get really good flavor. (Also, another trick is to use pretzel balls instead of sticks. That way, a handful is not awkward for party guests to hold.)

    Thanks for sharing this, though! I never knew the original recipe!

    1. Oh yes, this snack food has gone through many variations since its humble start - all of them good!

  23. Hi, good job, but I wanted to point out that the recipe in the ad calls for 1/3 cup butter, not 1/2 cup. Not that I have a problem with more butter!

    1. Thanks Eric - I explain everything in the actual post above the recipe. :) The ad is the old original but the recipe is entitled "Chex Mix Old School My Way" because it's my version of the original.


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