fear / food

delicious redemption

granolamistake

I made the most delicious mistake yesterday.

That sort of thing happens — more the mistake than the deliciousness — when I cobble recipes together, especially if I do it when I am hungry and making dinner at the same time. By this point, the “20% mental capacity remaining” notification has long since been dismissed because when you really want something, with as much want as I want granola sometimes, you are willing to push it to 3% before plugging in for the night.

I love granola. I would marry it. It is sweet and crunchy and cereal, which is the culinary equivalent of tall, dark and handsome.

Here is the problem with granola. It has nuts. And seeds. I love nuts, almonds mostly, and I love seeds, all of them. Except I am on the fence about chia seeds because they so resemble the teeny beetles I sometimes find crawling in obscure places in my house. I’ve looked at both up close and I’m telling you, the only difference is that one crawls very slowly. And has different insides. I’m not entirely sure that chia seeds aren’t a rebranding ploy to get us to eat bugs, which I’m not opposed to, I just want us to be up front about it all.

Back to the nuts and seeds.

I love nuts, but as I explained to my friend Serena the other week, the trouble with them is that they make me gain weight. And her reply was the most unAmerican thing I have ever heard:

“Is that good thing or a bad thing?”

She wasn’t being funny either. It was a real question. I was so surprised by it, I don’t even remember what I answered her. The room just sort of froze and the words just echoed, like it was the most profound question I had ever heard. (And we had just finished listening to Really Profound People at a conference, but I guess they just weren’t as profound as her.)

And it occurred to me that it might be a tiny bit ridiculous that I avoid nuts because they make me gain weight. I mean, all things in moderation, and stuff, but maybe if being irrational and sad is a requirement for fitting into the jeans I had to buy after I couldn’t fit into my old jeans, then maybe it was an issue worth revisiting.

The nice thing is that my appetite is a very good decider — at least, if by “good”, I mean a quick decider that always decides yes — and so I made plans for some perfect granola bars. Typical granola bars are a little heavy on the grains, and fruit and nut bars are too light on the grains, so I modified one of my recipes for a happy balance.

They were delicious even before I put them into the oven. I carefully tested to make sure they were worth baking. So I bake them and they come out of the oven and I’m so very, very careful to let them cool and then cut them according to their directions. And even though I do this, they just crumble to non-bar bits. Not the end of the world because “bits” also means “no measurable portions” which means I can have “some granola” instead of “six granola bars”.

It was just before sleep that I realized what I did wrong. All the best truth comes to us just before we fall asleep, or sometimes in the shower, because we’re vulnerable and helpless and can’t write anything down and we’re drooling or have suds in our hair. This is why I sometimes think truth is a prankster.

So I realized that I had forgotten to add the almond butter. Yes. That was it. This fatty, emulsifying agent was why the granola crumbled into bits instead of neatly keeping their hands to themselves in bar form.

I guess that means I will have to try again. After I finish eating some granola.

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