Thursday, March 19, 2009

The michael5000 Kitchen #6: Ex-Girlfriend’s Granola

Provenance: This recipe is written on a postcard dated 27 September, 1991, addressed (with my name spelled incorrectly) to my first apartment in Lawrence, Kansas, where I went to graduate school. It is from my girlfriend of the time, of whom perhaps the less said the better. I used the recipe a lot that year and occasionally for a few years afterwards; this was my first go at it for at least a dozen years.

The Recipe: is quite wordy. Here goes:

A TUB O’OATS, largish, uncooked.
1 – 2 cups Wheat Germ
1 – 2 cups Sunflower Seeds
1 – 2 cups Nuts
2 – 3 Tablespoons Cinnamon


¾ cups Oil
¾ - 1 cup Honey
1 stick Butter
¼ cups Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Water


The oven goes on 300. Make efficient use of the first wafts of heat by melting the goo in the bottom of a wide, sided cake pan. Stir the essentials into it until evenly coated and pop in the oven for about 90 minutes, taking it out several times to stir so that everybody’s evenly toasted. [She then goes on for quite a while about different variations and options, none of which I believe I ever tried.]

The Results:

Careful readers will have noted the ambiguity of the phrase “A TUB O’OATS.” I must have known what this meant at one time, but I don’t now. Taking a stab in the dark, I used a standard 42-ounce tube-shaped container of Oats, the kind you often see a jolly-looking religious dissenter portrayed on, but this turned out to be I think rather too many Oats. Using the largest cake pan in all of Castle5000, considerably larger than anything I would have owned in graduate school, it was still only possible to bake the ensemble by making a little mountain in the middle of the pan. Attempts to “stir so that everybody’s evenly toasted” resulted in numerous avalanches, which in turn led to pointed little remarks from Mrs.5000 about much she treasures a clean stovetop.

But how does it taste? Familiar, for one thing. Like the "chili" recipe, this tastes like the first year of graduate school. And, it's not half bad. Quite rich, though – you wouldn’t want to eat more than a small bowl of this unless you were about to climb up a glacier or something. Also, it’s quite…. um…. oaty. If I continue to experiment with this recipe, a key area of focus will be trying to figure out what the hell the ex-girlfriend meant by “A TUB O’OATS.”


An new version of the hummus recipe, extensively revised according to reader suggestions, has proven quite satisfactory. I call it Hummus 2.0, and it is available at the bottom of the hummus post.

Also, I was delighted to hear that Kadonkadonk gave last week's Better Than Robert Redford dessert a try, and not at all surprised to hear also that she made herself a little sick with it. The Better Than Robert Redford dessert is not to be trifled with.


Eversaved said...

True story: The jolly-looking religious dissenter that you often see on TUB O'OATS is my cousin.

No surprises there. I'm kind of a jolly-looking religious dissenter myself.

In other news: I have never tried making homemade granola, but this sounds delicious. Weekend project, perhaps? With a smallish TUB O' OATS?

The Calico Cat said...

quite um oaty - I'm lost isn't that the point of granola?

Yankee in England said...

I am studying the products available to me here in the UK to make a stab at the better than Rob dessert. I am thinking it might really fail with out the instant puddin. While I have been able to find many a American product at specialty shops Jello instant pudding (to my great dismay) never seems to be one. I will continue my quest (to the tune from Don Quijote playing in my head). I have a few more leads at specialty shops in London. I swear it better turn out to be worth my effort.

Kritkrat said...

Think what you want about your ex, but she was smart enough to buy a 'Made in Alaska' postcard at least!

Anonymous said...

How does a girlfriend spell your name incorrectly?

Michael5000 said...

@Miss Saved: HE IS NOT!

re: granola -- take notes! Report back! Here, or the obvious gmail.

@Calico: Touche'. However, let us conduct a brief thought experiment. Let's postulate that we were to use the designated amount of "Good Goo" and non-Oat "Essentials," but with that we would use 500,000 cups of Oats. Would that make the resulting granola "too oaty" relative to the rest of the ingrediants? I think we can agree it would. Therefore, there must a tipping point, as it were, where the volume of oats -- even oats! -- begins to become excessive in a granola recipe. And in this case, I felt that 42 ounces was at or beyond this point.

Always bringing up the philosophical issues, you are.

@Yank: Update me on this quest. There used to be an "American Foods" shop (marshmallows! peanut butter! Doritos!) in Edinburgh; I imagine there must be one in Londres. If you can't find any, I'll mail you some.

@Kadonk: Oh, sure, take HER side. I'm an "Alaska Joe Original" man, myself.

BTW, someday we have to figure out if you know my sister and nieces. Do you know anybody in Juneau named "5000"?

@Critical Bill: Just so. Worst. Girlfriend. Ever.

d said...

kadonkadonk should've known, because neither is it's namesake.

if i weren't marginally diabetic i would so try out both of these. although i'm also marginally too lazy to actually make my own granola.

Yankee in England said...

So I have a lead on the Jello. My DH works with a woman who has a friend whose daughter is dating a guy from the US military at the base up north who will have access to the PX. With any luck they have Jello. Ain't no moutain high enough ain't no valley low enough to keep me from my Jello.

Anonymous said...

Please. Don't Do. This.

Michael5000 said...

@Karma: What is it exactly I oughtn't be doing, now?

Jenners said...

You used a tub of oats and found it oaty? Hmmmmmmmm...let me call Sherlock Holmes to unravel this mystery. And I'm guessing everyone in the 5000 Household is quite "regular," if you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Turn. Each. Word. Into. A. Sentence. Like. This:

@Critical Bill: Just so. Worst. Girlfriend. Ever.


Eversaved said...

Ok, Mr. 5000. First of all he IS my cousin; my aunt is a genealogist and she confirms this.

Secondly, I did make EGG granola. I used an 18 oz tub o' oats. I used hazelnut oil and 1 c. nuts, 1 and 1/2c. sunflower seeds, and about 1 c. flax seed for my nut/seed combo. I cut down slightly on the "good goo," reducing the butter and honey by about 1/4 c. each, but used 2 cups of the wheat germ.

Results: Lori and Brie both call it "good" and are happily munching. Being somewhat more of a perfectionist, I would have cut back a bit on the oats and wheat germ or stuck to the original good goo measurements. How is your EGG granola 2.0 experiment going?

Michael5000 said...

@Karma: Ah! I see. I was afraid you were objecting the the whole culinary enterprise.

I promise I won't employ the single-word-sentences-for-emphasis form very often. It has its uses, though. For one thing, it's mimetic, imitating a way that people often speak to indicate mock emphasis, especially I think regarding the exploits of former partners. Also, since it is a way of writing usually employed by people quite a bit younger than me, it introduces a certain element of bathos that I like. Carries with it its own ironically distancing quotations marks, you might say.

At this point, you're probably wishing I would go back to very short sentences.

Anonymous said...

Mimetic. Is. One. Cool. Word.

It is OK to subvert any current cliche, like "That wasn't then, and this isn't now". Or, "The lasagna was to LIVE for." Or, when quoting Garth and Wayne, as you're probably wont to do, to say "....KNOT" instead of ".....NOT" but only aloud so no one else knows. "Best. Friend. For never."

Eversaved said...

I'm feeling a little self-conscious about my use of punctuation now.

Thanks a lot.