Dietribes: Granola


"¢Â First things first: what is granola? Generally speaking, it contains rolled oats, wheat germ, sesame seeds, unsweetened coconut, soy oil, sea salt and brown sugar (more or less).

"¢Â The first granola (known as 'Granula') bore very little resemblance to our more modern concoction. In 1863, James C. Jackson, a follower of Sylvester Graham (who praised the virtues of whole grain flour, which was soon to be called Graham flour) baked dough into dry loaves, broke them into chunks, baked again, and then ground it into still smaller chunks. This became, in essence, the first breakfast cereal.

"¢Â In the next step of granola's evolution (1877), the ingredients were changed to baked wheat, oats and corn nuggets by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (before he formed the cereal company with his brother). He originally called his cereal 'Granula', but was sued by Jackson. They compromised on the name 'Granola'.

"¢Â Granola didn't really take off though until the advent of Johnny-Granola-Seed-esque character named Layton Gentry. In 1965, he sold a recipe for granola that worked as a cereal, sure, but also as a snack food to be eaten on its own, as well as a basis for cookies. Gentry made his fortune, and spent the next several decades spreading the proverbial granola seed all throughout the US, Australia, and western Canada.

"¢Â Some of my fondest memories are making granola from scratch alongside my grandmother, but if you don't have the time or inclination to do that, you can always purchase granola at the store ... but beware the sugar content! Not all granola was created equal, and some of it qualifies as not as healthy as you think.

"¢Â Still, federal flight regulations accept a granola bar and a bottle of water a sufficient snack/meal. In an act of irony as only airlines can muster, a flight was delayed over missing granola bars ... bars which would have been used for snacks had the plane been delayed.

"¢Â Can't be bothered to make it to the store? You can create your own custom-made granola to be delivered to your door, even checking the nutrition facts along the way.

"¢Â Those of us who enjoy the occasional granola bar can thank inventor Stanley Mason (who has been mentioned here before -- Mason invented quite a few other helpful items around the house such as the squeezable ketchup bottle, microwave cookware, and the disposable diaper)

"¢Â News to me: apparently dogs like granola, too.
"¢Â According to Flossy Researcher Meg, there are many other ways to eat granola that I personally have never heard of or tried: granola pancakes, smoothies, scones, pie crust, even granola on a stick! What about you guys? And are there any interesting ingredients you add to your granola? Or brands you think are both hearty and tasty? Share below!

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"˜Dietribes' appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.