One of Grandma Country’s older sisters, my great aunt Rena, had her own way about the kitchen. She was widowed at a relatively young age and had been an elementary school teacher for many decades. In fact, she taught my Dad and his siblings, and the parents of many of classmates over the years and apparently had enough of kids through these avenues and never had kids of her own. She would join us at family gatherings on holidays and we would visit her on Halloween out in the middle of nowhere. She gave out full sized candy bars and offered them up on an ornate metal tray. Her demeanor somewhat reminded me of Aunt Clara on Bewitched and I found her pleasant.

For holiday dinners she would bring a tossed salad decorated with radishes cut into flowers. I always enjoyed this little display of artistry. For Christmas she would also bring a big bowl of “Mix” as she called it; it was homemade Chex Mix that always seemed to have a little something extra. I could eat my weight through one of her bowls of “Mix” and then I had to learn to share with my cousins.

I’m the anecdotal one of the family here in our desert home and over the holidays I mentioned Aunt Rena and her “mix” and said I found the commercial versions of Chex Mix to be missing something, but I didn’t know what it was. I can’t describe it, I can’t even write about here in the blog, it just lacked “something”. Now some might get all sentimental and say that it missed my aunt’s love, which the commercial version probably does, but that side of the family wasn’t generally known as being particularly warm. Loving, yes, but in a rigid sort of way. It was just a given, no need to discuss it.

So Chris and Mike decided to mess around with some Chex Mix recipes and made a big batch of the stuff for our holiday festivities. They captured it. Whatever is missing from the commercial version is not missing from the version they put together and I probably ate my weight through the stuff on New Year’s Eve. There were no cousins around to share with so I was happy about that.

Perhaps the missing ingredient was love after all.