But why did I dislike so many things? As a perfectionistic little girl, anything "wrong" was banished to the island of No, I Will Not Eat That. Things of the wrong color, wrong smell, wrong appearance...it was an extremely arbitrary system, and I'm glad today it is no longer in place. Get this: granola was rejected by my system because of its wrong connotation. I associated granola with hippies, those legendary figures with their tie-dyed everything, their patchouli and incense, their general willingness to smoke many things, and their general unwillingness to shave at all. (Gross generalization.) (Hemp granola did not help the cause.) (Readers will be interested to note that I entered Cal as an uptight right-winged nutjob and emerged 4 years later...decidedly different in thought, opinion, and heart. But that can be fodder for another post.)
Over time, my view of hippies (and more importantly for this post, granola) changed. My senior year, I constantly berated Alisa, one of my roommates, for (sometimes) not recycling her plastic water bottles, and her response would always be "Fine, you hippie! I'll recycle just for you, you hippie of a roommate. Fine!! PS, have you seen the South Park episode 'Die Hippie Die'? It's so you." Interesting progression there...
I also remember shopping with Jena at Berkeley Bowl one day; she picked up a box of granola there and cracked it open in the car. I timidly grabbed a handful for myself...and so it began. (Jena is a wonderful teacher with exquisite taste, and some of the other life-changing things that she's introduced me to include (but are not limited to): Feist, the power of scarves, cheeseburger pie, and Jackson 5 dance parties.)
Then in Chicago last October, Lisa threw this awesome pad thai dinner party, but at the end we realized we had completely forgotten about dessert. Enter Lisa's friend, who quickly whipped up a storm of granola, which we used to top scoops (a mountain for me) of vanilla ice cream. Love at first spoonful, I vowed that it would be mine.
There was one last thing that was tripping me up. Most granola that I had seen in the past contained at least one weird ingredient like wheat germ or flax seed or quinoa--none of these are everyday things in my pantry/stomach. This was a turn-off. But one day the clouds parted and I found Molly's take on it all.
No weird stuff.
All normal stuff.
Now close this window, preheat your oven, and accept that the game is over because this granola is so so so so good and the hippies have won (for this scenario, let's pretend that we're all hippies)!
(If you'll pretend (for me) that cell phone pictures are adequate for now and better than no pictures at all, I will too.)
Molly's French Chocolate Granola
(adapted from Orangette) (my #1 food blogger girl crush)
3 1/4 c rolled oats (old-fashioned)
3/4 c sliced almonds
2 tbp sugar
pinch of salt
6 tbp honey
2 tbp vegetable oil
at least 1/2 c chocolate (dark of course), chopped into little pieces
Preheat oven to 300. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Heat honey and oil in a small saucepan on low, stirring frequently until honey is loosened up. In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, sugar, and salt. Add the honey/oil to the oat mixture and mix well.
Spread evenly on baking sheet and bake 20 minutes, stirring once in the middle and once after you take it out to prevent French chocolate granola bars from forming (unless you want that).
When granola is cool, pour into plastic ziploc bag and add the chocolate. Shake to combine! Just try to keep your hands out of the bag until breakfast. You will lose.
(I am partial to eating this with Costco 1% organic milk.) (Thinking cinnamon and vanilla (and cranberries??) for the next iteration.) (Also, I'm so sorry that this post was flippin long. Something about lots of words in me or etc.)
And now a question for you! What's something you used to hate but now love?