I like old fashioned things. Do you like old fashioned things?
Antique tablecloths. Old school music. Leg warmers. Stuff like that.
Retro recipes are a particular favorite. So you best believe that when I stumbled across this gem at a local used book sale, I pounced.
It was published the year I was born!
And now, thanks to the lovely ladies of the Junior Service League of McAllen, Texas, I’m baking my way through some of the Lone Star State’s best.
Today we’re starting with some Texas Trash, contributed by Mrs. Jerry Fair (Zetta).
Mrs. Fair must have known her way around the kitchen because this is one intense snack mix. For real. We’re talking cereal, Fritos, pretzels, pecans and Tabasco. Plus liquid smoke! Bang.
Prepare to have every single craving that you’re currently experiencing satisfied in one single bite. Bang bang.
The thing that I love most about retro recipes is the challenge of making adaptations based on ingredient obsolescence and/or modern health zeitgeist.
Mrs. Fair’s recipe, for example, calls for 1 pound of margarine and 2 cups of bacon fat.
Yes. That’s what I said. Two cups. Of bacon fat. With a side of margarine. Discuss.
I healthed it up and went with butter instead.
But what Mrs. Fair really nailed was the flavor combinations: sweet, salty and spicy all in one. Plus the liquid smoke, which is really a treat. Your kitchen will smell like the best kind of barbeque as this snack mix bakes.
The most challenging thing about making this mix is maneuvering such a huge quantity of stuff. I strongly suggest that you toss the mix as it bakes, and then once it’s baked and cooled, remove it to several large Ziploc bags or sealable containers, fill them only three quarters full, and give them a vigorous toss. The seasonings are so strong that you’ll want to make sure the dry ingredients are as evenly coated as possible.
So thank you, Mrs. Fair. Your Texas Trash is a winner. I like the way you think.
recipe adapted from La Piñata: The Recipes of The Junior Service League of McAllen, Texas
1 box Cheerios cereal (14 ounces)
1 box Captain Crunch cereal (14 ounces)
1 box Rice Chex cereal (12.8 ounces)
1 bag Fritos (10.5 ounces)
1 bag pretzel sticks (13 ounces)
2 lbs. pecan halves
3 c. unsalted butter
1 bottle Worcestershire sauce (10 fl. oz.)
4 tbsp. celery seeds
4 tbsp. garlic, dried ground
3 tbsp. cumin, ground
2 tbsp. cayenne chile, dried, ground
2 tbsp. liquid smoke (mine was hickory flavored)
2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
Preheat oven to 200º.
Place cereals, chips, pretzels and nuts in a large roasting pan and/or sheet pans and toss well (I used my large roasting pan and two half sheet pans). It doesn’t matter if your pans are shallow or deep, they just need to contain the mix with some extra room to allow you to toss.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small sauce pan. As it melts, mix in the Worcestershire, celery seeds, garlic, cumin, cayenne, liquid smoke and Tabasco. Once the butter has melted, give it a stir in case any of the seasonings have settled to the bottom of the pan and pour the mixture over the dry ingredients. Immediately toss the snack mix well (you can use tongs or a large spoon as the butter will still be warm). Bake for 1 1/2 hours, tossing occasionally as it bakes. Mrs. Fair recommends tossing every ten minutes, but I don’t think that much tossing is necessary – just agitate the mixture at least 3 times as it bakes. The finished mix will be fragrant and almost completely dry. Remove and cool.
Once the mix is cool, remove it to several sealable containers filled only 3/4 full and toss vigorously to give the seasonings one more chance to coat all of the dry ingredients. Store in sealed containers.