How you doin’? Are you a crunchy snack eater? I certainly am. I don’t enjoy granola and milk-soaked breakfast foods. What I do like is munching on granola clumps while watching TV. It’s the combination of a sweet (not too sweet), crunchy (lot of texture), seemingly healthy snack food… the latter being a misnomer—it ain’t necessarily all that healthy.
With good intentions, Granola was invented in Dansville, New York by Dr. James Caleb Jackson at the Jackson Sanitarium in 1863. The Jackson Sanitarium was a prominent health spa that operated into the early 20th century on the hillside overlooking Dansville. And then it kind of disappeared.
The food and name “Granola” were revived in the 1960s, and fruits and nuts were added to it to make it a health food that was popular with the health and nature-oriented hippie movement. At the time, several people claim to have revived or re-invented granola. During Woodstock, a soon-to-be hippie icon known as Wavy Gravy, popularized granola as a means of feeding large numbers of people during the festival. Another major promoter was Layton Gentry, profiled in Time magazine as "Johnny Granola-Seed."
In 1964, Gentry sold the rights to a granola recipe using oats, which he claimed to have invented himself, to Sovex Natural Foods for $3,000. From there it was sold to a number of different companies. Here’s where it gets interesting.
In 1972, an executive at Pet Incorporated of St. Louis, Missouri, introduced Heartland Natural Cereal, the first major commercial granola. At almost the same time, the Quaker Oats Company introduced Quaker 100% Natural Granola. Quaker was threatened with legal action by Gentry, and they subsequently changed the name of their product to Harvest Crunch. Within a year, Kellogg's had introduced its "Country Morning" granola cereal and General Mills had introduced its "Nature Valley".
And then, there are granola bars. Granola bars have become popular as a snack. Granola bars consist of the same ingredients with just a little more of the sticky stuff, pressed and baked into a bar shape, resulting in the production of a more convenient snack. Granola bars are the perfect individually packaged snack easy to carry in a purse, backpack or other bag for munchin’ later alligator (ode to the hippies). While passed off as a health food, they're basically cookies masquerading as a healthy alternative.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
Cool time: 1 hours
Yield: About 8 cups (2-1/4-pounds)
2 cups old fashioned oats
1-1/2 cups almonds, roasted or toasted, roughly chopped
1-1/2 cups sunflower seeds, hulled
1 cup unsweetened coconut, wide slice shredded
1/4 cup sesame seeds, white, hulled
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup canola oil
2-1/ tablespoons whole cane sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins or craisins (optional)
ChefSecret: It’s best to divide the mixed dry ingredients into two bowls and coat each one with half the wet mixture; then recombine all ingredients together to ensure thorough coverage.
Covid-19 Quip of the Day: An average giant panda eats at least 12 hours a day. A confined human eats like a panda. Hence the name--PANDEMIC.
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© PERSPECTIVES/The Consulting Group, Inc., 2020
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