Saturday, January 25, 2014

Chewy Peanut Butter Granola (& Confronting Stereotypes)

We've been talking about Stereotypes in my Human Diversity class this week.  It's been intense and meaningful.  We discussed how stereotypes are those attributes that we project or assume about a person because they belong to a certain group.  (And though this attribute might be true about some people of that group, it is not necessarily true for all people of that group.) 

I asked the students to be courageous and consider stereotypes that they hold – that might be obvious or more latent for them.  We talked about the damaging effects of stereotypes and how they can cause "micro aggressions" to occur.  Micro aggressions are those comments we make or actions we take, that might be careless or jokey, or derogatory to a person that wound people perhaps unbeknownst to the perpetrator.  They might be unconscious acts but they have painful consequences. They occur repetitively, and their impact can be cumulative, "like a thousand paper cuts as opposed to one deep wound".  (Miller, J. & Garran, A., 2008)

This reading asked us to take a personal audit and consider how we might confront stereotypes in our lives.  
1. Think of a racial stereotype you hold that makes you feel uncomfortable.
If you have difficulty identifying one, try to think of something about a person from a different racial or ethnic group that you would not want to discuss with him or her but would be willing to confide to somebody who shares your racial or ethnic identity.

2. What is the stereotype? If you were trying to teach this stereotype to someone else, how would you explain it?
3. What uncomfortable feelings surface when describing this stereotype? It can help to list them.
4. Where might you have learned this, and from whom? (Include multiple sources if you like.)
5. What might have been the historical and social contexts from which this stereotype evolved?
6. What in society or your daily life perpetuates and reinforces the stereotype?
7. What do you know or believe that contradicts this stereotype? 

These thoughts were swirling around in my head today, when I was starting to write this blog about Granola.  (I know… I have a lot swirling around in my head and this is going somewhere). I have a granola recipe that I love and make all the time, and share with people, and serve at brunches.  But I recently made this recipe, that my friend Kirsten sent me from SHAPE magazine.  It's peanut buttery and oatey and it is great! But it's different from my other one- this one is chewy, and richer. and doesn't need fruit, and stays in clumps.  It may not be your stereotypical granola. :)
So, I thought I would look up the definition of Granola in the dictionary to see what exactly constitutes Granola, by definition.
Here's what it said:

granola |grəˈnōlə|nouna kind of breakfast cereal consisting typically of rolled oats, brown sugar or honey, dried fruit, and nuts.• as modifier ] chiefly derogatory denoting those with liberal or environmentalist political views, typified as eating health foods.ORIGIN late 19th cent. (as a trademark): from gran- (representing granular or grain-ola. The current term dates from the 1970's.Interesting.  Granola, in its second definition is a stereotypical group of people.  "You know that guy, he's Granola".  So...if you are environmentally bent, and eat healthy foods then you must be "Granola".  I feel that by this definition, I might fit the description. However, I don't think I've ever been called Granola (at least to my face).  Come to think of it, I don't know what group I would be ascribed to.  And maybe that's because I don't want to be pigeonholed, judged, reduced to a label like that.  But who does, really?  
adapted from SHAPE magazine
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup honey
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups oats
½ cup wheat germ
anything you want to add-in: mini chocolate chips, dried fruit, chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 325˚. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray (or line with parchment paper) and set aside.
Combine peanut butter and honey in a bowl and microwave until peanut butter melts, approximately 20 seconds. (Or do this in a pan on a stovetop). Stir.
Stir cinnamon and vanilla into peanut butter and honey mixture.
Add oats and wheat germ and stir until oats are completely covered in peanut butter mixture.
Spread out oat mixture onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until granola is slightly browned.
Let cool until granola is crunchy. Remove from sheet in clumps.

Keep in an airtight container.

(if you decide to add nuts- do so before baking, and if you add a lot of nuts, you might need more of the goo to cover it well). 

If this is way too deep, social justice-oriented, and serious for you, I apologize (kinda).  I couldn't keep myself from sharing this stereotype challenge with all of you- especially on the week we celebrate the life and work of Dr. M.L. King!   Regardless, if you like peanut butter and granola, I recommend you try this easy and delicious recipe.


  1. Beautifully written, challenging (in a good way)...and yes, please, to the peanut butter granola!!

  2. I LOVE this granola recipe. Almost as much as I love your original-famous granola recipe. I love them for different is chewy, one is crunchy. One is sweeter and one is richer. One sprinkles better over yogurt and one is perfect to grab by the handful. Both are delicious. Love this post too!