Making granola

My journey of reinvention is firmly rooted in DIY sensibilities. My thinking, my approach to challenges, and things that hold significant value for me–like my publishing–all emanate from an ethos that says, “I can do this.”

Perhaps the seed for that was planted back in Crown Point, Indiana. I was 21, with a pregnant wife, no job, and I was 1,500 miles from home and extended family support. Unemployment was over 14 percent and I didn’t have much in the way of life or employment skills.

Mary and I had to figure some things out in order to survive. Obviously we did. We also realized that our little self-contained unit could weather some pretty significant adversity.

Over the past 30 years, I first ran away from my DIY tendencies, thinking they screamed “tightwad!” Then, I found out that DIY actually held cred with the punkers and indie rockers I was hanging with in the mid-1990s.

Mark, our son, who is definitely a DIY’er, has been encouraging us to consider ways that we can detach from the corporate food chain, limit packaging, and live more simply when it comes to our daily bread.

DIY culture isn’t a fashion statement anymore. It makes sense in a world where knowing how to fend for yourself will continue to enhance your value and maybe might allow you to survive.

Rather than bread, my focus today is on granola.

Starting from scratch--the ingredients.

Starting from scratch–the ingredients.

You can buy all kinds of varieties of this popular food, one that has been called “the perfect food.” A few weeks ago I bought a bag from The Providence Granola Project, and it was really, really good. I polished it off in a few days.

This got me to thinking. Mary used to make granola in Indiana; not because it was boho to do it, but because we couldn’t afford to buy it in the store. She still has the original cookbook she used–now old and tattered–Doris Janzen Longacre’s More-with-Less Cookbook. Mary special-ordered it back in 1982 before we launched westward. It made the return journey with us to Maine, in 1987.

Find a guidebook you like; in this case, an old standby of the Baumers.

Find a guidebook you like; in this case, an old standby of the Baumers.

Mix the ingredients together.

Mix the ingredients together.

She last made the granola recipe about five years ago.I’m using a variation of that recipe today, with a few added things that I like, such as almonds and raisins.

Looks good, doesn’t it?

Voila!! Finished product.

Voila!! Finished product.

4 thoughts on “Making granola

  1. DIY has a lot of benefits. You’ll do things for yourself you used to pay people to do for you. New skills, better taste, more nutrition, pride in work and a different way of thinking become part of the reinvented Jim. I started living, loving and thinking a little deeper while making life a lot simpler. Good for you!

  2. Thanks, Robin.

    I have this saying that sometimes you have to look backwards in order to move ahead. Our parents, our grandparents, and many others used to do things themselves that we now farm out to others, and you make a great point about how costly this can be.

    More and more people are discovering the old ways, I think.

  3. Hey thanks for the love from Providence Granola. Our granola is just the DIY recipe that I settled on after a few years of making my own. It’s not rocket science–just really good ingredients–which is one reason we thought it would make a good vehicle for teaching job skills to refugees. I have the “more with less” cookbook too plus an updated version with a lot of world recipes.

    • I really appreciate your comment, Keith.

      Your granola is awesome, and what Providence Granola is doing is awesome–taking a great product and using it to teach people skills that will enhance their quality of life.

      Continued success with your very local, sustainable model of production.

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