For some really odd reason the combination of garlic and worcestershire sauce creates one of THE smells of the Christmas season. The people who came up with chex mix really hit on something with that. I made some last night for the boys and had two startling realizations: that I've smelled cooking chex mix before, but not in a very long time, and that it is one of the smells that helps define the commercial holiday season.
I cannot imagine where I would know this smell from, and my guess is that I was under the age of ten when I last smelled it. I do have a vague memory of my mom making chex mix. I know at some point she had to ask her mother for the recipe, which I've seen in her recipe box.
And as far as associating this snack with Christmas, all I can guess is that it had something to do with the commercials of Charlie Brown mixing a bowl of chex and then all of his friends walking in and eating it all in front of his Christmas tree.
I ended up having to call my mom for the recipe since the last time I made it I had one of those official chex mix seasoning packets. Mom gave me a list of ingredients that we compiled from her memory and what I guessed based on the flavor I remembered. When she found grandma's recipe it turned out we were right.
My amounts were all a bit wrong, though. I'd done half a stick of butter to about a cup of worcestershire sauce. I think I ought to decrease the sauce by half. And then I had about a tbsp of both garlic and onion powders. Then I baked it. I started at 350°, and when the chex came out soggy I reduced it to 250°. That worked better.
My chex mix isn't perfect, in fact it has a very homemade-holiday feel, and I kinda like that.