Pretzel and Nut Snack Mix

April 18, 2011

If I ever become famous, and someone asks me which book influenced me most, I have the answer prepared. I’ve had the answer prepared for years. And I don’t think I’ll ever need to use it. So I might as well tell you now.

Somewhere in the attic of my parents’ house lives a chest full of notebooks. I filled their pages during middle school and high school: periods of time where I wrote every day, sometimes for hours at a time. Writing was both my passion and my escape. And I thought, rather naively, that I would someday cherish all I wrote down in those notebooks. Which are still somewhere safe, I think.

Reading was another escape of mine. I loved the beat poets (angsty aspiring high school writer who loves Jack Kerouac? What a novelty!) and used their books and poetry as a reminder that my high school life was just one small step before my awesome life began (which, by the way, turned out to be true). I dreamed of becoming friends with people who loved the Beats. My dream came true at a summer writing camp, and then at college.

In college, I stopped obsessing about the Beats when it was no longer a novelty (sell out!), and fell in love with a slew of great writers. My fantasies of writing the next great American novel continued.

You would think, from this story, the book that influenced me most was On the Road, or something by Shakespeare, or Song of Myself, but its not. It’s Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi.

Maiden Voyage is not a great work of literature. Tania Aebi is a decent writer, but not a great one. Maiden Voyage is the true, autobiographical story of how Tania Aebi circumnavigated the globe solo in a sailboat when she was 18 years old. I read it between my sophmore and junior year of college.

I loved reading about each step of her incredible  journey around the world. And when I finished the book, I realized that I didn’t care all that much anymore about writing beautifully or describing the human condition or winning the Pulitzer Prize. Above all those things, I wanted to live a life worth writing about. And my life took on a new perspective.

Since then, I’ve gone on many, wonderful adventures. I have blessed to have a job that, despite its many flaws, is interesting and gives me good stories to tell at parties. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks, Tania!

(A shipmate and me off the coast of Canada)

(Will and me at the top of Grey’s Peak)


PRETZEL AND NUT SNACK MIX (from David Lebovitz)

What kind of a blog is this becoming anyway? I tell you a story about my personal development and then I throw a recipe in for good measure? What the hell?

This snack mix is very good but spicy. Beware. Its a little sweet, a little salty, and VERY spicy. Decrease the cayenne pepper if you want to take fewer than a gulp of water after every two bites.


2 cups (200 gr) mixed raw nuts (untoasted); any combination of cashews, whole almonds, peanuts, pecan halves, and hazelnuts

1 tablespoon (15 gr) unsalted butter, melted

3 tablespoons (45 gr) dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or another red pepper)

1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon flaky sea salt or kosher salt

2 cups (100 gr) small pretzel twists


Toast nuts. Place nuts on a baking sheet in a single later, and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice so the nuts don’t burn. Keep oven on.

Mix melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and maple syrup together in a bowl. Add nuts, and stir until combined (the warmth of the nuts will help the flavors melt together). Then add pretzels and salt.

Pour mixture onto baking sheet, pat into a single even layer, and bake for 12-18 minutes. Stir mixture two times during cooking. Remove from oven and, when cool enough to handle but still warm, separate pretzels from nuts as the mixture cools. Serve and enjoy.


One Response to “Pretzel and Nut Snack Mix”

  1. auntie xoxoox Says:

    hi my precious niece,,,your blog is always enjoyable xoxo love you to pieces
    your auntie xoxooxox

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