21 August, 2014
The History of Chex Mix
This article was written by Phin Upham
Go to any Super Bowl party and you’re bound to find a bowl of Chex Mix. It’s a salty, and sometimes sweet mix of various things one might find in the pantry. After World War II, the US was fairly prosperous. A generation of “Baby Boomers” had returned from overseas and were sitting on a fair amount of money.
This affluent generation indulged in snack foods and alcoholic beverages when they could. One of the biproducts was something called “Chex Mix.” It’s difficult to pinpoint when the concept first began, for something like Chex Mix had already been done by General Mills before Ralston Purina tried it out.
A survey of cookbooks throughout the 1950s and 60s indicates that it was popular to toast household cereals and grains and create one’s own dishes. Today, we buy Chex Mix by the bag full but the original version was almost entirely do-it-yourself.
Recipes for buttered-cheese Chex Mix, or Worcestershire-covered Chex Mix began circulating in cook books and women’s magazines of the day. The concept was embraced by Ralston Purina formally in 1952, when they began printing their own recipes for Chex Mix on the box itself.
Chex Mix grew out of the TV culture of the 1950s. It was one of many snacks designed to be eaten in the dark, where judgmental eyes could not scrutinize what was on one’s plate. Eventually, Chex was acquired by General Mills in 1996. The brand continues to foster the idea of Chex Mix with commercial varieties it has created and marketed on its own.