Last night, I put the "community" in the Community Supported Granola I am proposing to start in a few weeks. Around 10pm (my typical granola baking start time), I measure and mixed the GGG super yum ingredients with my big wooden spoon, spread them onto the large hotel baking sheets that I have come to love, put them in the oven and planned to watch the Emmys with my lady bug kitchen timer by my side to remind me stir every fifteen minutes. I had my (late) evening plans all laid out.
The best laid plans…
I was about 15 minutes into the batch (had stirred the product once) and finished with the hoakey opening number of the recorded Emmys when Clay noticed that our kitchen smelled like gas. I had smelled the usual maple syrup and beginnings of coconut toasting goodness but didn’t notice the gas. And then I did. We opened up the windows and the porch door and still the gas smell. After a few minutes Clay declared, “I’m shutting off the oven and the gas, I’m shutting down the Greater Good Granola production until we get this thing looked at by someone tomorrow.”
What to do? The syrup and olive oil were coating all of the nuts and seeds and oats, the granola was ¼ of the way towards golden goodness and I was without an oven. I had a few orders to ship in the morning (yes, people across the country want this granola!), so I did what everyone does in times of need, I called on the kindness of neighbors. I shot a text to my 2nd Ave ladies (I am blessed to have a group of neighbors who I call friends, with whom my children have grown up with, who I shared life stories with over wine on our porches and whom my kids trust and love. I got the luck of living on that block in Wallingford). Within minutes I got 5 different replies saying, “Come over, you can make it here.” “We’re up, come.” .
Soon, I was out the door, tote bag on my shoulder with my big stirring spoon tucked in it, hot pads on my hands carrying the double (HOT) trays of granola. I banged my way through our front door, carefully down the porch steps to go around the corner to Loriana’s. Granted, I’m a little weak from a summer of very few workouts but these wet oats were heavy. I kind of panicked at the thought of dropping the trays and stopped a few times to lean on parked cars. I propped the trays on a fire hydrant half way round the block and finally made it up the stairs to Loriana’s.
The oven was pre-heated (love my ladies!) and I was glad to re-locate and get the granola cooked. I tried to fit the cookie sheets into the oven and could not- too wide. I quickly texted the next generous friend Beca, reloaded myself with the trays (this time leaning the cookie sheets against my stomach since they had cooled but still my wrists shook), down the porch, back around the block and into Beca’s kitchen. I felt like the wandering granola maker just looking for a home for my goods.
The oven was again too small for my large trays at Beca's. Beca,her husband and two kids were dedicated to making this work. Out came the pyrex dishes, the parchment paper, the extra cookie sheets and spatulas. It was like we were transporting fragile treasure as together we carefully moved the oats, pepitas, nuts, coconut and seeds onto smaller sheets and dishes and we managed to fit all of the granola onto the three racks in their oven. After realizing the bottom shelf was a bit too close to the flame (and burning a few small trays of granola to the heat), we got things sorted and I set my timer.
Between stirrings, I got an evening of catch up with dear friends- summer had escaped us and we had lots to share. I got to be with two dear girls who give me a peek into what I have to look forward to with my younger girls as they mature. I got that great feeling of community, of being around people who want to see me succeed, people who are a part of my Seattle chosen family.
I don’t usually look at a broken oven and a night of missed award shows as a gift, but tonight’s mishap was just that. I was reminded of what I already know- sharing kitchens and stories and delicious foods is where I am at my happiest. And I also learned another thing- burnt granola with some milk in a friend's kitchen late night doesn’t taste half bad.*
(*Oven technician coming out tomorrow- stay tuned. Another 2nd Ave lady already gave me her house key so that tomorrow I can resume production in her kitchen in her huge oven that will indeed fit my two big cookie sheets. Onward.)