Snack for Superbowl Sunday


My slight variation on Judy Thomassen's Fishies and Oysters

My slight variation on Judy Thomassen’s Fishies and Oysters

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!

Fishies and Oysters Snack Mix
Recipe type: Snack food
Serves: Lots and lots.
  • 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
  1. Dump all the crackers into a large stock pot or roasting pan.
  2. Dribble the oil over the ingredients, stirring to distribute the oil.
  3. Sprinkle in all the salad dressing powder and herbs, stirring to distribute them evenly over the cracker mix.
  4. Let sit for twelve hours. Alternatively, put into a very slow oven, no more than 200, for a couple of hours.
  5. Store it in an airtight container or in zipper-closing bags.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.