Many Mainers are looking forward to Sunday’s game and are not the least deflated about the Patriots. You know that this is a national holiday, don’t you? You can tell by the displays in the grocery stores. Most significant holidays get a food and drink related display at the end of the aisles in the stores, and beer, snacks, and avocados destined for dip get a lot of attention around game time in early February.
We aren’t doing anything with avocados here, but we are going for the snack food. Empty calories, alas, but wicked tasty.
After the Chex mix offerings for New Years, Judy Thomassen of Caribou wrote me to say she just plain doesn’t like Chex (or greasy, lard-fried donuts, or hot mashed potato salad to which she says, “Yuuuck.”). Thank goodness, there is no law that says you have to, and as a result, Judy developed a snack mix she calls Fishies and Oysters after the Gold Fish crackers and oyster crackers she uses. She sends bagsful to grandchildren and nieces and nephews and others around the country who apparently complain loudly and long if they don’t get any.
Judy has never shared this recipe before, and believe me, I am honored that she is willing to do so. Like Chex mix, it relies on buying up various yummy commercial crackers, and adding packaged this and that. But hey, it’s only once in a while, and you can tweak it to work for you. The butter crackers can be one of several sorts like Ritz. The recipe makes a huge amount. I halved it, and even though Toby and Tres grazed on it for a while before I put the rest away in tins, I still have plenty to take to a Superbowl gathering. I used pretzel squares and Chez-Its because I had some in the house, and chose Ranch dressing-flavored, whole wheat Wheat Thins, a vain and feeble attempt at wholesomeness.
When Judy assembles the mix, she doesn’t bother to bake it; it will develop all the needed flavor if allowed to sit for twelve hours. I stuck mine in the woodstove oven for a little while; it seldom rises above 200 in there and that was just enough to do the job. She creates variations as you could, too, with Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, or Oriental flavors (sesame oil, a little wasabi). Be inspired!
- 1 large box cheddar fish crackers
- 3 bags oyster crackers
- 1 box mixed butter crackers
- 1 bag thin, short pretzel sticks
- 1 box wheat thins
- 2 bottles Orville Redenbacher’s butter flavored popcorn oil
- 2 packets Hidden Valley Original Ranch salad-dressing powder
- ½ cup dried parsley flakes
- ¼ to ⅓ cup garlic powder (not salt)
- ⅓ cup dried dill leaves
- Dump all the crackers into a large stock pot or roasting pan.
- Dribble the oil over the ingredients, stirring to distribute the oil.
- Sprinkle in all the salad dressing powder and herbs, stirring to distribute them evenly over the cracker mix.
- Let sit for twelve hours. Alternatively, put into a very slow oven, no more than 200, for a couple of hours.
- Store it in an airtight container or in zipper-closing bags.