From the Vault: A Meditation on Trail Mix


Trail mix is the unsung hero of snack food. It should rank higher in the world of delectable delights, but often it doesn’t. You may pass it in the convenience store, or at the grocery store, and say to yourself, “That looks good,” but then realize one of the ingredients is dried apricot, which you hate. Shitty ingredients seem to be what’s holding Trail Mix down – keeping its potential untapped, at bay.

Everybody has thought about it at least once, “I wish this mix had something…” or, “I wish this mix didn’t have…” To understand the complexities of putting together the ultimate Trail Mix, one must view Trail Mix from a different vantage point. Because in the end, Trail Mix is like a movie, and this movie needs great casting, because any weak supporting-role can tank the entire experience.


Who’s Starring?

    The lead actors in my Trail Mix movie are, without a doubt the Cashew, Raisin, and Milk-Chocolate Chip.

The Cashew is an easy choice. It’s bold, full of flavor, doesn’t dry the mouth out, and it mixes well with the other players. The Cashew is the Bruce Willis of nuts, badass, a little over the top, but a good place to start.

Raisin provides a nice contrast to the crunch of the Cashew, as it is chewy, slightly sweet, and complimentary in flavor. Although not the headliner in my movie, the raisin can, and does, headline many other Trail Mixes. In this way, the Raisin is kind of like John Travolta. You aren’t sure if you like Travolta when he’s by himself, but if he’s got a good supporting cast, he’s pretty easy to enjoy.

Milk-Chocolate Chip is as important a lead as Cashew and Raisin are. M-C Chip is really what makes it possible to enjoy Cashew and Raisin together. Without M-C Chip, you feel like you’re waiting for something to happen. M-C Chip satiates your sweet tooth. M-C Chip lets you know that, no matter what, when he’s in a scene it’s going to be good. M-C Chip is the Samuel L. Jackson of my Trail Mix movie.


Supporting Cast

    Behind the leads in my Trail Mix are the supporting cast of the Dried Pineapple, Pretzel, and Peanut.

Dried Pineapple is the king of all dried fruit; this is not up for debate. It provides chewy, sweet, and tasty in a way the Raisin cannot, but you cannot have Dried Pineapple in a lead role, because it would overpower the other actors with its sheer awesomeness. Harvey Keitel is the Pineapple of the dried fruit world; good as a leading man, better in the supporting role.

The Pretzel is required to even out the salty vs. sweet debate in my Trail Mix. The Pretzel has a different type of crunch and saltiness from the Cashew, but is too dry to be in the lead. The Pretzel has range, but is one dimensional when asked to lead. It does one thing, and it does it well. Ving Rhames plays the Pretzel here and works great with the Cashew, Raisin, and M-C Chip.

The Peanut is the Uma Thurman of the Trail Mix movie I’m putting together. When too numerous, the Peanut is a black hole of flavor. You want to see it in small doses. The Peanut complements the Raisin rather well, and good Raisin-pairing is important in any Trail Mix movie.



I only want a brief appearance by a couple of actors in my Trail Mix, and they are the Peanut Butter Chip and the Dried Cranberry.

Peanut Butter Chip is the single most incredible addition to any Trail Mix. However, PB Chip must be regulated to a brief appearance. PB Chip is best when you are left craving for more. PB Chip isn’t meant to fly solo, but if you choose to have him that way, he’ll blow your mind. Christopher Walken is my PB Chip.

Last but not least, Dried Cranberry. Dried Cranberry is a tough call for me, but I decided to include it. A little tart and strange, but in the end Dried Cranberry provides a good compliment to salty and sweet. Played by Quentin Tarantino, Dried Cranberry is relegated to a very limited role. Much like Quentin, if you see too much Dried Cranberry in your Trail Mix you may feel the urge to punch yourself in the face.


I think with this Trail Mix mixture is perfect. Don’t even think about trying to beat it, it’s impossible. There’s no way that you can do better, no way. It’s got everything, action, dialogue, humor, Peanut Butter Chips! What does yours have? Walnuts, Almonds, Dried Banana? You’ve got to be kidding me. My Trail Mix is like the Pulp Fic…

Holy Shit.


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