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Big Sky Bites: “Annie May’s Oyster Crackers”

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PHOTO BY MICHAEL SOMERBY

By Michael Somerby EBS STAFF

Not all snacks were created equal.  

If you enjoy “Combos,” cheese, peanut butter and pizza flavoring-filled pretzels sold at most convenience stores, for example, there may be something terribly wrong with your palette.

Of course, I have been known to finish whole cartons of “Flavor Blasted Goldfish” in one sitting, washing down the artificial cheddar goodness with a bag of “Bold Chex Mix” for good measure. The point being, I’m no snob as to the ingredients and composition of my mass-produced bags of savory delights—disodium phosphate, partially hydrogenated soybean, maltodextrin and monosodium glutamate (MSG)? Keep ‘em coming.

There is, however, a hierarchy of snacks and I will argue for my favorites tooth and nail. Especially when the “grandma factor” is to be considered.

My grandmother, “Mamie,” always has a bin of seasoned oyster crackers when I arrive to her California home—and because she’s mygrandma, they are the holy grail of snacks.

Mamie borrowed the recipe from her mother-in-law, my great grandmother, Annie May McLucas, a sweet woman who was a veritable parlor shark. She would just as soon school you in cards as transfix you with stories about Chicago’s good old days.

Like any good host, Annie May, who lived into my early 20s, knew to provide food and drink and lively conversation in her parlor—the former “combo,” to borrow a term, consisting of booze and, you guessed it, “Annie May’s Oyster Crackers.”

Now, there’s nothing wrong with Gardetto’s or wasabi-coated dried peas—I’ll snap those up any day of the week—but for your next soiree, impress your guests with a simple, tasty homemade snack that will leave them too distracted to foray into religion or politics.

Recipe:

Prep time: 3 minutes

Cook time: 1 minute

Ingredients:

  • 11 ounce package of oyster crackers
  • 5/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 ounce package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Salad and Seasoning Mix

Instructions:

Toss oyster crackers and vegetable oil in plastic bag, coating evenly. Add spices and seasoning mix, toss until coated evenly. Toss again in paper bag to remove excess oil and allow to settle. Transfer to decorative bowl and enjoy!

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