May it Please the Palate: M & Mixed Bag

What is easy to make, a real crowd pleaser, and contains essentials from four of the most important food groups – chocolate, sugar, fat, and a rainbow of artificial colors?
How about M&Mixed Bag? Here’s the recipe, listen carefully:

Place equal parts plain, peanut, and peanut butter M&M’s in a salad spinner. Give one spin to mix, put on top of the refrigerator until the kids go to bed, then eat by the grubby handful.

Editors – please print this recipe with a plethora of little ® symbols because as we all know, M&M’s are a registered trademark of the Mars candy family. I know this fact from Wikipedia. I do not know this fact from the official M&M web site, because I learned that you cannot go onto that site without first entering your birthdate, which I refused to do. The birthdate is needed, because according to Mars, “As a responsible manufacturer, we need to check your age to ensure that we adhere to our commitment to market our brands responsibly.”

Right. So if a ten year old wanders onto the website by accident, Mars’ advertising executives will do a freak-out dance, wondering why someone with more purchasing power didn’t visit their website instead. These are the same brilliant marketing minds that turned down the opportunity to be featured in the movie E.T., as the candy that Elliott used to lure the cute little alien to his home. This opened the door for the sales of Hershey’s Reese’s Pieces to rocket into outer space, in one of the most successful examples of product placement in history.

Unfortunately, Reese’s Pieces just don’t have the same snap as peanut butter M&M’s. And when mixed with peanut and regular M&M’s, the mélange is sublime perfection. I say this knowing that Mars has created pretzel, almond, and the god-awful coconut as alternative M&M flavors. Frankly, even plain M&M’s almost didn’t make the cut in M&Mixed Bag. They are usually the lonely leftovers after the peanut and peanut butter ones are picked out. But all recipes need a boring “base” as contrast to the more exciting flavors, and in this case, plain M&M’s fit the bill.

Why a salad spinner? I am not sure who is responsible for this. I believe my old college friends who created the recipe deliberately put the mix in a salad spinner, knowing the kids would never think to look there. Since then, all of our families’ children, once they’ve grown up and gone to college, have received the parting gift of a 1-lb. bag of each M&Mixed Bag ingredient, inside a brand new salad spinner.

This same college friend who created M&Mixed Bag recently mailed me an ad for M&M’s new “snack mixes.” These creations include nuts, pretzels, mini-cookies, and even dried fruit with certain M&M varieties. Seriously? Look, Mars, it’s so easy to get it right. Recipe above. Your savvy marketing executives can even borrow my name and logo, M&Mixed Bag, complete with the R in the little circle. Don’t blow this one like you did with E.T. Trust me – your sales will go through the roof.