Homemade Chex Mix has been a holiday tradition in my house for as long as I can remember. My mom gets out her old metal 13×9 pan–dented and seasoned from years of baking–melts the margarine, adds the seasonings, and tosses it with our choice of cereals: rice, wheat, and (my favorite) corn chex, Cheerios, and pretzel sticks. Nothing more. Absolutely no peanuts–this was a debate for years, but we’re finally all in peaceful agreement. Nuts are allowed in fudge only.

Oh, and her fudge is amazing.

But the Chex Mix. It’s taken me years to get it right, but this year, I got it. Yes, it’s the recipe on the cereal box, but when she makes it, it is so much more. So here it is: 6 tablespoons of salted butter, melted in the pan then mixed with 2 tablespoons (plus a few dashes) of Worcestershire sauce, 1 1/2+ teaspoons seasoned salt, 1 heaping
teaspoon garlic powder, and 3/4 heaping teaspoon of onion powder. Stir until blended, then add 10 cups of cereal, tossing well, a few handfuls of broken pretzel sticks, and bake at 300 F for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Don’t even think about using the microwave. It just wouldn’t be traditional.

Oh, and you need a Christmas canister to store it in. And if your kids are heading back to college, send the tin with them. You may think they don’t need a themed tins in their tiny dorm rooms, and you’d be right. But trust me: Every time they see that tin, even if it’s shoved to the back of a closet, they’ll pause for a moment and think of you. And they’ll smile.