You are what you eat and you eat what you are.
Although granola’s been around since the 19th century
I never heard of it until the 1970’s, when crunchy granola was bona fide hippie food. With my waist length hair, wire rimmed granny glasses, India print warp skirt, and Swedish clogs, I was SO there. I was crunchy granola.
And what could be better than buying granola?
Making your own. Bonus points to listening to Dale Dorman on the WRKO radio at the same time. (Stairway to Heaven)
Uber bonus points for waiting for the night WATD played Folk Music with Dick Pleasants.
(Amy, what you wanna do?/I think I could stay with you/For a while, maybe longer if I do) Pure Prairie League 1974
My first attempt came shortly after I got some recipe cards in the mail. Cards for an all-natural cooking series….and you would get more cards each month for a low introductory fee….printed out by some big company. I think I still have the free box that was my gift to keep whatever – I’m not one to look a gift box in the mouth, as it were.
I was too young and naïve to see the irony in all this.
Until these cards arrived, I hadn’t thought that Granola was something that could be made at home.
Granola was in the same category as Wheaties and Cheerios and Grapenuts and Life. Cereal made in a factory, came in a box, you eat it and buy more. Beginning and end of story.
The same Quaker Oats that made oatmeal raisin cookies cold make granola? Wicked cool!
Into the kitchen go I.
These self-same oats must be toasted.
One of the inherent problems is that oats go from toasted to toast – make that charred tasting and truly nasty – in a flash. And once smoke detectors became de rigueur, it became annoying and embarrassing. Maybe this was just MY problem and not an oat problem.
I’ve since read about a Theory of Cooking Relativity, that we all have a set point of how much/how well our cooking chops are, and sometimes we must lose something we’ve thought we’d mastered in order to take up something else new; that there’s always something that we don’t get good at. Sort of a Superpower/Kryptonite sort of thing.
I also burn English muffins in the toaster. I was becoming rather famous for it. I stopped toasting English muffins in the toaster, and now I only toast them in a toaster oven, watching them the whole time.
By this time I had collected quite a few recipes for granola, and tried them. Most of them were sad stories, never to be retold.
Thank you Mollie Katzan.
Just when I had forgotten about stove top granola, dear Ms Katzan came out with Still Life with Menu Cookbook, which is my favorite of hers, (although I’m madly in love with all of the ones she wrote for children, too.) and mentioned it again. In case you missed it the first time. Or just plain forgot.
I still cut out granola recipes and save them – even today David Levovitz with NO BAKE GRANOLA BARS (it would be a challenge for even me to burn these- I’ll let you know how they turn out). I have these clippings: Jane Dornbusch in the Boston Globe (trimmed off the date, but a Wednesday when the food pages had gone to the pullout G-section, because food is now with the Funny pages. And the horoscopes and the word puzzles); Melissa Clark in the NYTimes July 15, 2009 with a more savory than sweet granola; Jill Santopietro form the Globe, May 2, 2007.
But they all include coconut. It not that I don’t like coconut, I do. What’s a pina colada without it? Or coconut cake? I just don’t care for it in granola. And it’s usually a large enough component that leaving it out leaves things unbalanced.
I don’t like recipes that make me fretful before I’d begun.
But there was ONE recipe that coconut was an add-in, not the base, if only I could find it.
I had a dream….I have very vivid dreams.
AND in this dream I was in a 15th century bake house (straight from a picture I’d be drooling over the day before) and as I was in this bakehouse all the walls became a golden color, and the outlines became red…
When I woke up, I thought “Tassajara Bread Book”
The last recipe, #98 in Tassajara? Granola. No Coconut. Why is there a granola recipe in a bread book? It was the ’70’s.
In the meantime, I’ve eaten most of the ingredients I bought for the granola project…and just today David Lebovitz (Living the Sweet Life in Paris) published No Bake Granola Bars…..here’s the link: