Marilyn’s party mix has become a holiday tradition. About eight years ago I quit smoking and decided to learn to knit to keep my hands and mind busy. I’m sure this is a story I’ve blogged about previously but regardless…It was a great decision for a number of reasons but one of the best outcomes was the amazing band of women that became a very important part of my life. We call ourselves the Knit Wits. We meet almost weekly to knit, take road trips, and share stories and recipes (our pot lucks are fabulous). Our ages and life paths varied pretty significantly but we all quickly grew to love and respect each other and cherish our time together. Marilyn was the oldest of the Knit Wits. She was 80, give or take a year, when we first met and we lost her to the ravages of cancer about three years ago. She was funny and spunky, told wonderful stories, was extremely generous and an excellent cook. She shared recipes that we all still make and think of her every time we do. One of those recipes is her party mix. I cannot imagine how much of this she made each year. She would start shopping in the fall for ingredients. I’m sure she went through no less than 20 pounds of butter or more each year just for her party mix. She could always tell us which grocery had butter on sale. She gave party mix to friends and family by the gallons. I always take some to my daughters for Christmas and her friends look forward to noshing on it. So much so that I mailed some to a friend of hers in Miami who wasn’t able to make it to Chicago this Christmas.
Almost everyone has had “Chex Mix.” Marilyn had her own special version. She embellished! Her ingredients included but were not limited to:
Snyder’s pretzel mixes (including jalapeño bits)
Cheese-Its (different favors)
Goldfish (different favors)
Chex (rice, corn and wheat)
Gardellos rye crisps
Marilyn passed away in late August of 2012 and that Christmas we all got together and made Party Mix. We had large bowls of all the ingredients on an assembly line and added a cup of this, a cup of that until we had filled a large roasting pan. Then came the buttery, garlicky goodness.
4 sticks of butter
4 T worchestershire sauce
3 1/2 T Lawrey’s seasoning salt
1 T Lawrey’s garlic salt
1 T garlic powder
Peheat your oven to 250. Melt 3 sticks of butter and add all of the spices. Stir well. Pour 5 T of the seasoned butter over the roasting pan full of mix and stir carefully to coat. Bake for 20 minutes and repeat. Do this three times until an hour has passed. Melt and add the fourth stick of butter to the mix and repeat at 20 minute intervals for another hour. After two hours pour the mix out onto freezer or parchment paper on your counter and allow it to cool completely before packaging it in zip lock bags or other containers. Marilyn always saved coffe cans and the large containers nuts and other ingredients came in to package her party mix. Your house will smell like garlic.
It’s addicting. You will have garlic coming out of your pores and still go back for a little more. RIP Marilyn. I will think of you every year when I make this and I know that you are smiling.