Granola sounds friendly, doesn’t it? “Granola.” See? Friendly. Words of association include….crunchy, oats, hearty, sweet, natural…yogurt…acidophilus… probiotic health…..Perhaps I should stop with the word associations, but the list goes on. Overall, I think, “Yum! Granola! Good for my heart, good for my soul.” I mean, people that love the earth and hug trees have been nicknamed “Granolas,” have they not?
Well, I am here to tell you that granola has a dark side. Allow me to set the scene….
I flipped through the recipe book and scanned the ingredient list. First of all, it was long and most of the ingredients were not kept on-hand in the bakeshop. I’d have to take a trip to the storeroom (after, of course, I located the keys to the storeroom, which floated around the kitchen). Secondly, I’d been told to double the recipe, so that meant 8 pounds of cornflakes. When I first looked at the number, I thought I might have been mistaken, because the last time I checked, a cornflake weighs…like, nothing. A second look confirmed that I hadn’t misread. Eight pounds of cornflakes. This was going to require the 80 quart bowl.
I hustled off to the storeroom (and dairy box –for dried fruits and nuts…yes, I know that those things aren’t dairy products, but that’s where they live. Go with it. I do.) in search of oats, apricots, honey, molasses, maple syrup, cranberries, cherries, pistachios, and of course, cornflakes.
I piled my ingredients into a crate, except for the elusive cornflakes hidden somewhere amidst the jungle of supplies. I consulted the storeroom manager, who can be best depicted as the Indiana Jones of Inventory. Dodging tin cans and bounded over boxes, we landed directly in front of the cereal. And there were the cornflakes…but, what was this? The storeroom only ordered cornflakes in individually portioned boxes (the wee packages you find on complimentary brunch buffets next to the mini-bagels and that scarcely fill a breakfast bowl.) Each miniature box weighted precisely .80 oz. The path to my future was suddenly paved with rooster branded boxes.
Quickly metamorphosing into a cereal box opening machine, my motions became automated, ripping open boxes, cutting the plastic pouches and dumping them into the bowl. With Mission Cornflakes accomplished, I began transforming my workbench into a terrain of small mountains, including scenic Mount Sliced Apricot, Dried Cherry Peak, Toasted Coconut Ridge and Saint Pistachio’s Point (to name a few).
I melted my sugar mixture and poured it over my ingredients, tossing them together in the giant bowl…although, “tossing,” is rather difficult when pounds and pounds of dried fruit and cornflakes are involved, and when the ingredients come up to your bicep. Not to mention the additional resistance (in addition to pure bulk) caused by the sticky nature of both honey and molasses….it was more of a painful folding process. By the end, my hand look like a cat had attached itself to me and clawed me to death. The roughness of the cornflakes had scratched the entire back of my right hand.
But there it was….Granola…beautiful, benevolent granola, starring up innocently at me from the 80 quart bowl… I tasted a cluster. Goodness. Pure Goodness. Despite the toil, hundreds of cereal boxes overflowing the trashcan, and my raw knuckles, I’d made an astonishingly tasty snack. As two-faced as Janus (or Cecelia…who from the sounds of Simon and Garfunkel, might not be completely on the level.), Granola has won me over again.