Of Granola and Grey Hair

Recipe: Cacao Nib Granola

Granola is a loaded word. Even today, it’s not just about the cereal – it’s about a lifestyle. Especially if you make your own – something I’ve been doing for years.  For a long time I thought it wasn’t really worth blogging about, till I gave some to a friend and she started raving about it.

Eventually every food blogger posts a recipe for granola, anyway, right? Just as it was in the ’60s it’s certainly one of the gateway foods for a do-it-yourself lifestyle.  Ironically, the word granola was once a trademark; a cereal created by Kellogg’s, in the 1880’s, consisting of baked and ground  oats, wheat and cornmeal.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, in addition to its culinary definitions,  granola is…”used allusively, esp. (freq. attrib. or as adj.) with reference to people typified as leading an unconventional or hippie lifestyle, esp. one involving earnest left-wing political views, concern for the protection of the environment, and the eating of health foods.”

And as much as I would like to embrace this label, there is a lot of ugly baggage hidden in the phrase “involving earnest left wing views”;  implications of  peachiness, and judgment, a certain holier than thou attitude.

I don’t really want any part of that. I’m too much a bundle of contradictions to judge anyone else.

I think of myself as non-conventional. I’ve never worn high-heels in my life, I made a conscious choice not to have children, and I think a person’s actions in life are much more important than their stated belief system. I don’t read ads or enjoy shopping. And while I am hooked on Chopped, I’ve never seen a single non-culinary reality show.

But, on the other hand, I wear eye makeup, I own a TV (clearly), I refer to my dogs and cat as my kids and I am a sucker for shiny electronic devices.  I don’t live off the grid, grow my own food, or even stick strictly to a 100-mile diet.  And for all my feminist inclinations I’m pretty much a housewife with a hobby business.

My car is almost 10 years old, but, I bought it new, and it’s an SUV. And well into middle age, I still focus more on my weight than my overall fitness and health. I make my own granola, but I also color my hair.

As non-conformists go, my choices are pretty middle-of-the-road. And I’ve been questioning some of them recently. Particularly the hair coloring. If I’m happy to be middle aged – if indeed, I’m grateful that my body still works as well as it does, (I truly am; look around, any of us who can move, breath, live free of pain and get to go outside on a sunny day, have so much to be thankful for.)  then what the hell am I hiding from? I’m 43 years old. And I have grey hair. It’s time to embrace it. And maybe even enjoy it.

My granola isn’t very sweet, and it doesn’t contain wheat germ, seeds, or anything too far “out there” – unless you count the cocoa nibs, or the orange oil. Like me it’s pretty middle-of-the-road.  But still evolving.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Piebird on May 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    your granola looks delicious and healthy, not anything I would attribute to Kellogg’s cereal company! great little piece of culinary history. I’m going to try your recipe for my next batch! as for grey hair, you could try a short haircut at the same time and that’s what people will notice! 😉


  2. Posted by Teresa on May 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I love this post! I think a lot of us are middle-of-the-road granola. It’s the contradictions and complications that make us interesting.


  3. Very true!


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