the breakfast of champions

Isn’t it interesting that we will often accept and even prefer the same food for breakfast every day, while to do this for our evening meal would seem like the behavior of an ascetic—or a pauper? In the evening we want variety, but in the morning: sameness.

For many years now my regular weekday breakfast (weekends are different, taken together with my wife Kimmie) has been a bowl of granola with milk. My practice is to make my own granola and to eat it with organic milk produced by Avalon Dairy here in Vancouver; they still package their product in glass bottles.

And if you don’t like it, your horse will.

Maybe 35 years ago I came into possession of a recipe for granola, and I’m not sure now where I got it. It might have been from my mother. I used to take pleasure in acquiring the ingredients at Galloway’s, a specialty food store based in New Westminster that used to have an outlet on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver, just off Thurlow Street. All the ingredients were ranged in bins behind the glass counter, and I would get a custom quantity of each in its own plastic bag. For a treat I would buy some halva while I was at it. It was one of the activities that Kimmie and I would share early in our relationship.

On to the recipe. Having made small tweaks to it over the years, I have modestly given it my own name; I call it Paul’s Exemplary Granola. Here it is:

Paul’s Exemplary Granola

Preheat oven to 350°F; put racks in middle of oven.

Grease 2 baking pans.

Put on low heat:

1 cup oil
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup honey
vanilla extract

Put in big mixing bowl:

4 cups oat flakes
4 cups wheat flakes
1 cup bran
1 cup oat bran
1 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup shredded coconut
sunflower seeds & cashews to taste

Mix liquid ingredients into dry.

Spread mixture over the 2 pans. Fire them in the oven for 15 minutes. Then turn the granola with a pancake lifter. Bake for another 15 min. Perfect granola.

Now I have tinkered with this further. For one thing, I haven’t been able to source wheat flakes very easily, so I’m using 8 cups of oat flakes instead, and liking that fine. Then there is the bake time. I find that our oven toasts the mixture a bit much for my taste if I bake the batch for a full 30 minutes, so I nudge the bake times down to 14 minutes and 13 minutes for the two halves of the bake. Experiment to taste.

But this is the fuel for my mighty creative works. I thought I would share it with you for your enjoyment. May it lead you to creative works of your own!

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