Monday, November 22, 2010
There is a recurring dream that has been haunting me lately. In it, I'm traveling back to the small house that I lived in for about ten years during my childhood. For some unknown purpose, I am driving down familiar roads and looking to make the final few turns that will take me to the circular court where we used to live. It occurs to me that the house is likely to be empty, with no furniture, and no one I know will be living there, but there is a urgent sense of needing to return. This dream is particularly baffling to me since this home no longer resembles my childhood memories. Years ago I drove past and saw that the abandoned farm acreage that surrounded us is now an industrial park. The trees we climbed, the fields where we picked flowers, and the woods that all of us children felt we owned, are now gone. But in my dream, I can't get back to what it was like during my childhood fast enough. Another peculiarity is that this home was only one of many. We moved around a few times, always in some fringe outreach church or seeking more bang for our buck as my parent's economic status shifted. Even now, when people ask me the dreaded question where are you from? I can either bore them with a list of places I've lived or simply tell them where I live right now, which is the town we reside in, but is not where I am from. Because I don't know where I am from, but I think it must have something to do with that house I'm desperately trying to get back to in my dream. That was home, and now it's gone, and the quest for home is still a journey that I am in the middle of. My whole life so far has been one long attempt to arrive home, wherever that may lead me.
Don't worry- this is not turning into a home-is-where-the-heart is post, because that would be a little too trite. But the dream incites my fascination with how we perceive time and place, and how we remember things to be a certain way, and how they change. For instance, when I went back to our old home as an adult, I was amazed how small everything looked. Small front steps, small shrubs under small windows, I remembered it all to be so much bigger. Oh how my childish perception made our small, simple home so grand!
My perception also did this to my grandmother's house, where all of our Thanksgiving meals took place. There were so many people arriving for the meal that it must have been a mansion in order to accommodate everyone. Wrong again. It's an average home, size wise. But what it lacked in square footage it more than made up for by being filled with love, warmth, and good memories. In order to hold them all, it was nothing short of a castle.
May you be giving thanks this year in a castle of your own, overflowing with gratitude, and moments that time will magnify with goodness.
My Favorite Granola
I've been experimenting with granola recipes for the past few years, looking for one that has more depth, taste, and nutrition than what you can find in stores. It also has to have ingredients that are accessible, and be enjoyed best in a cup with milk for a fast breakfast. This is the recipe that I keep coming back to, adapting it somewhat to ingredients that I have on hand. It's fun to make granola, and very easy. If you have found some of the recipes that I've posted before to be more of a challenge, try this one.
6 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whole hazelnuts (optional)
1 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup honey or 3/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup whole almonds
1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 325. In a large bowl, combine oats with cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together oil, honey/maple syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until combined. Pour the honey mixture over the oats and use your hands t o combine, gathering some oats in clumps. Repeat until all oats are coated with the mixture. Pour onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper, spreading evenly. Bake for ten minutes, then remove and flip granola over with a spatula. Sprinkle almonds over granola, and bake for five minutes. Remove, and flip granola again. Sprinkle hazelnuts over granola, and return to oven for ten minutes. Remove from oven, and cool completely. Sprinkle with raisins and cherries. Store in quart jars on the shelf. This makes 4-5 quarts.