In a whisper, Evon, our manager, confided that she ate half a bag of Bourbon Pecan in the morning, then felt strangely warm, light, tipsy for the rest of the day.Almost like floating.“Could it be all that whiskey?” she asked.She hadn’t yet compared notes with her sister, who ate the other half of the bag.
Bola, who claims that people from Nigeria don’t go for sweet stuff (like granola), was trying to purchase some for a friend who works at RISD.
Maitham could be heard singing while he packed.
I myself woke up in the night and snuck downstairs without turning on the lights and opened a fresh bag and ate a piece. Later, I began experiencing impulses to give it away.Bags of it.Some things you figure out with your taste buds, others by your impulses.I always know something’s good when I start giving it away.
To back up:there were moments Wednesday when we feared that this granola did not wish itself to be made.At home, with the prototype, it took about 15 minutes to bring the sugar to 240 degrees.At Amos House this took over two hours.Two—at a rolling boil.Can anyone explain that?
My wife had to jog to her meeting because I had the car.My daughters had to forage the fridge for dinner. When I poured the Wild Turkey into the sugar, it was like Eyjafjallajökull erupting, with an aroma more difficult to describe than Eyjafjallajökull is to say. Even so, two hours was barely sufficient to crystallize the sugar into praline.We beat those nuts; arms like wind mills.A Don Quixote moment if there ever was one.The granola was done and needed to come out of the oven.In my pocket, my phone buzzed, unheeded.
Maitham arrived in the middle of this ready to amuse us with his latest English joke.
“This is a crisis,” I told him. “Quick.Wash hands.Put on gloves.”
“What’s a crisis,” he asked, but I couldn’t think how to define the word in the middle of a crisis…though he was already aproned and furiously soaping up.This is what makes on-the-job English learning so marvelously effective.
Once the praline finally started to set, we made an assembly line mixing in the nuts and stirring in the chocolate.
“A crisis is like a bad surprise,” I said, to ease the tension.“Things go wrong.We don’t know what to do. We try to do something.”
“Like my country,” Maitham said.“Iraq is always in crisis.”
I had to work the nuts in with my (gloved) hands while Evon stirred in the chocolate and the two of them conferred in Arabic.
In hindsight, we should have put the pans back in the oven for 15 minutes. Evon called me a few hours later to say that only half of the granola had clumped into our signature super-size chunks.The other half crumbled.(Whatever you may think of our chunks, they are not easily made.We’ve already decided that if we start stocking the shelves at Whole Foods, it has to be a chunkless edition.)
When I told Evon not to pack the rest and that we’d heat it up again tomorrow, I thought she might cry.This is because she said,“I’m going to cry."Not because she minds the work.Evon works hard.She just likes the granola to be perfect.She has this theory that if granola is not made with love, then it won’t taste lovely.There needs to be love in the kitchen.Love between the people working.I should get her to write a blog on the subject, but it would probably have to be in Aramaic and a bit Zen, but we’re all on board with it.We respect the ingredients; fashion them with love.
But there’s the adversity that leads to failure, and another kind that turns granola into a marvel all its own that really needs a name yet to be invented.Maybe something like Eyjafjallajökullola.For now we’re calling it Bourbon Pecan.The pecans and walnuts melt in your mouth.The chocolate, which we added last minute (on your advice) hides and waits like a treasure before it melts in your mouth.We all agreed it’s one of our best. (Though if we make it again, I swear I will make the praline the day before.)
And fair warning:to compensate for the higher price of the pecans and Wild Turkey, we are charging an extra dollar per bag.(Month-club members receive their monthly 1 lb allotment as usual.)This is our first attempt at a premium “dessert” granola.It’s a little sweeter; a little higher in calories.We do see ourselves as a health food company, so we pray that this one will be especially good for your soul.We highly encourage giving it away. You’ll have to let us know if it makes you warm and light (or summons you from bed in the middle of the night).
Zaid, our new shipping coordinator, is packing month-club boxes as I write. It will also be available at the Pawtucket Winter Market and the season’s first Coastal Winter Market tomorrow.
Ingredients: oats (org), honey (pesticide-free from Auidneckhoney), cranberries (cranberries, sugar, safflower oil), granulated cane juice (org), canola oil (org), coconut (org), sesame seeds (org), spelt (org), raisins, pecans, almonds, oat bran (org), wheat germ, sunflower seeds (org), flax seeds (org), walnuts, Ghirardelli chocolate (chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, milk fat, soy lecithin), bourbon (Wild Turkey), coconut oil (extra virgin), oat fiber, sea salt, cinnamon, almond extract, vanilla, nutmeg, and a whole lot of love.
The praline is made with dehydrated cane juice and a little coconut oil (and without cream or butter to maximize shelf-life).This granola contains almonds, walnuts, pecans, wheat, milk (fat) and soy (lecithin).
If you intend to hoard this granola (or any of our granolas) beyond a couple weeks, we recommend that you do so in fridge or freezer.
And finally, on completely different subjects--THANKS to all who have commented on our recent blogs. We really appreciate it. And if you follow us on Twitter, you may see this blog again. I'm planning to send parts of it out in 140 character increments.