6:30 AM…..Grunt, groan, sigh….the fridge door opens, a cursory glance at the contents apparently yields nothing interesting. The ritual is repeated next at the freezer, and then at the breadbox before the inevitable question is tossed my way.
"Hey dad, what's for breakfast?"
I'm not even sure why I bother to answer, because regardless of what I say, the only response I ever get in return is; "Is that all?" "We never have anything good for breakfast anymore!" Repeat this dialogue (if you want to call it that) four more times, once for each of my kids stumbling into the kitchen, and you have a pretty accurate depiction of my morning routine lately. I suspect that the deterioration in the morning 'tude is just part of their end-of-the-school-year restlessness, but it seems an opportune time to add a new player to the breakfast rotation in any event. Something that is nutritious, easy to make, can do double duty as an afternoon snack, and most importantly, will get my kids off my @#$ about not having anything good to eat for breakfast. The choice is simple, delicious and obvious.
Slip this word into a chat you are having with anyone over the age of 30, and the image in their mind’s eye is liable to be this; granola, the breakfast of choice for birkenstock and tie-dye wearing tree-hugger hippies weaving hemp plant-hangers while listening to The Grateful Dead. You know, munchy fodder for “crunchy-granola” types.
Mention granola to a group of kids sitting around the breakfast table, and you’re likely to illicit a sea of sour faces and the following dialogue; “keep that nasty bowl of tree bark and weeds far away from me, just the smell of it is making my eyes itch….I must be allergic."
Such a bad rap for what CAN be a delicious and nutritious staple of healthy eating. Of course, the poor rep is not entirely undeserved. Most pre-made granola on the market today falls into two broad categories, it either does taste like a bowl of bark mulch and pebbles, or it has been so highly processed and “sugared” in order to appeal to the bulk of our mass market cereal eaters, that it should not even be considered a cousin, eight times removed, of real granola.
There are some terrific artisanal granolas on the market these days, but at a cost of $10-15 for a 16 oz. bag, even our hemp-weaving hippie friends (who have been known to spend great sums for weedy things sold in bags) choke at the cost.