Thursday, February 3, 2011

The history of my granola recipe

My granola recipe is dedicated to Jackrabbit Johannsen.  Who?  He's the man accredited with introducing cross-country skiing to Canada.  He was also the grandfather of my friend and roommate in college, Chris.

How did I possible come by a recipe dedicated to this person.  It's a long story!

I went to college at McGill University in Montreal.   At the end of my second year in school, I was planning on moving off campus and was lining up people to live with.  My friend Julie said yes and she suggested another woman who lived in her dorm, Rachel.  Over the summer, Julie decided not to return to school so Rachel (who I barely knew) and I ended up living together, in an apartment not far from campus.

It was the perfect match!  She was calm, easy going and loved to cook.  How could we not be compatible.  We spent a lot of time that year cooking as I had recently become a vegetarian and Rachel and I loved to procrastinate by baking bread.  Although, we discovered that making bagels was really not worth it, given we lived in Montreal, home of fabulous bagels.  I had a friend Pete, who would go out jogging and leave a bag of bagels on our doorknob (I found out later that he was trying to woo me with bagels but I was a little dense about that).

Anyway, Rachel and I decided we wanted to keep living together our senior year but we added another friend Beth to the mix.  Beth decided that it was time to move out of Molson Hall (yes, you got that right) and asked if she could move in with us.  We said yes and I had planned on going up to the city over the summer to find us a place to live.   During out conversation about the living arrangements, I had asked Rachel if she wanted her boyfriend Chris to move in with us too and she said no.  Well, during the summer, she called me and asked ever so nicely if Chris could indeed move in with us.  (I have lots more stories about Beth - she is one of my best friends and we had many adventures over the years, before we were married and were traveling together.  Ask me about the toe-sucking Moroccan on the train from Barcelona to Madrid)

So the four of us found a lovely apartment that was near St. Lawrence Street.  As luck would have it, our other good friend Melissa lived around the corner from us on St. Louis Square.  The five of us spent the year eating, laughing and hanging out a lot.

Kneeling: Stacey.  Left to Right in back: Melissa, Beth, Chris and Rachel.

What does this all have to do with granola you ask?  Chris grew up in Mont Tremblant so for that year, we all spent quite a bit of time visiting his parents there.  One weekend we all went up to chop and split their wood.  We did a lot of cross country skiing and hiking.  I had my first experience with being in a sauna naked and then running out into the snow as Chris had a sauna in his house!  Chris's mother was Norwegian and the daughter of Jackrabbit.  She would cook LOTS of food for us when we would go up to visit and for breakfast, she would serve this wonderful granola.  I asked for the recipe and she pulled out this community cookbook and showed me the recipe and how it was dedicated to her father.  I don't remember much of the story but I don't think the recipe author actually knew Jackrabbit, only that the recipe had been developed in honor of someone who loved the outdoors.  My recipe is now on a fading piece of paper that is 27 years old.  That is ok, since I know it by heart.

As an aside, I bought a picture book years ago for my daughter and lo and behold, the dedication was to Jackrabbit Johannsen.    The title is Race of the Birkebeiners by Lise Lunge-Larsen.  This is a wonderful story and the illustrations are lovely.

oh, and Chris and Rachel were married a couple of years after we graduated  and now have 4 lovely children and live in Seattle.  Beth is married with two beautiful girls and lives in London.

Crunchy Granola

5 cups rolled oats
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1 cup coconut
1 cup raisins
1 cup nuts

Mix dry ingredients (first 5) and add oil.  Mix well.  Bake at 300 for 45 min, stirring every 15 min.  Take out of oven and add honey and the rest of the ingredients.  Bake for another 15 min. This makes a very sticky granola.

The only modification over the years is to cut back on the oil and honey. I use 1/2 to 3/4 cup of oil and honey.  I usually use pepitos instead of sunflower and I add all sorts of dried fruit instead of raisins.  I also don't measure the coconut, fruit and nuts but just put in handfuls of the stuff I want.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, yum - I haven't made granola this year. Enjoyed hearing about your college days!