Be forewarned, I wondered about the origin of granola and ended up going down a heck of a rabbit hole…
MY REPORT ON GRANOLA
Our story of granola starts in prehistoric times
The history of granola is intertwined with oats, a wild grain that was probably first cultivated by the prehistoric inhabitants of Central Europe.
No one is certain about the origins of oats but all agree that once milled the resulting oatmeal, when cooked, is easy to digest, healthy, and economical. It is the basis for many breakfast dishes, then and now, most notably porridge.
Granola owes a debt of gratitude to oats.
Fast forward to the 19th century
In the late 1800s as the US population became more health conscious, Dr. James Caleb Jackson of the Our Home on the Hillside health spa of Danville, NY, developed a dry cereal that he called “granula.” It was the first processed breakfast cereal in the US.
Granula involved oatmeal and twice-baked zwieback mixed together. It was disparaging referred to as “wheat rocks” and was intended to be a healthy grain-based alternative to a breakfast of bacon and eggs.
At about the same time Dr. John Harvey Kellogg of the Battlecreek Sanitarium of Battlecreek, MI, learned about Dr. Jackson’s granula and stole the idea of it. Kellogg, more businessman than doctor from what I can tell, renamed his product “granola” to avoid a lawsuit by Dr. Jackson.
Continuing into the early 20th century
Even though recipes for granula existed, like the popular one by The Sisters of the Brethren Church, Kellogg’s name for the cereal became associated with the product.
Ironically one of Kellogg’s patients at his sanitarium, a Mr. Charles William Post, stole the idea of Kellogg’s granula/granola and created his own version if it called Grape-Nuts.
Meanwhile in Europe in the early 1900s a Swiss nutritionist Dr. Maximilian Bircher-Benner of a sanitarium in Zurich created a dry grain-based cereal [because apparently who wasn’t?]. He called it “muesli” and his recipe involved oats, nuts, and dried fruit.
Fast forward to the 1960s
Because of the hippie movement granola made a comeback in popularity. Cups of it were popular at Woodstock in 1969.
Sometimes referred to as Sunshine Happy Hippie Granola, this homemade granola was made from a recipe that in essence combined Jackson/Kellogg’s idea of “granula/granola” with Bircher-Benner’s idea of “muesli.”
The new hippie granola hit mainstream America in the early 70s. This reinvented crunchy granola was much sweeter than earlier recipes of granola. It was manufactured by many large food companies, advertised on TV, and became associated with healthy eating despite its high sugar content.
BREAKFAST DISHES Granula, a recipe by Sister Amanda Witmore, of McPherson, KS, found in The Inglenook Cookbook by The Sisters of the Brethren Church 
Chapter 2, BREAKFAST A History by Heather Arndt Anderson
Charles William Post, Wikipedia
Granola Girl, THE NIBBLE, The Webzine of Food Adventures
Jackson Sanitarium, Dansville NY, via #ArtofAbandonment on YouTube
James Caleb Jackson, Inventor of Dry Breakfast Cereal, MENTAL FLOSS
John Harvey Kellogg, Britannica
Maximilian Bircher-Benner, History of the Bircher-Benner Clinik in Le Pont
Peace, Love And Granola: The Untold Story Of The Food Shortage At Woodstock, HUFFPOST
Sunshine Happy Hippie Granola, a recipe by Donna found in Woodstock- Preservation Archives 
THE CEREALS, OR GRAINS., Science in the Kitchen: a scientific treatise by Ella Ervilla Kellogg 
The Origin and History of Granola, CULINARY LORE, Food Science, History and much More!
The Process of How Oatmeal is Made, The Clinton Courier of Clinton, MS
THE SUGAR CONTENT OF GRANOLAS Jane Brody’s Nutrition Book 
MY RECIPE FOR GRANOLA
2 Cups Old-Fashioned rolled oats
1/3 Cup olive oil
1/3 Cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 Cup coarsely chopped blanched slivered almonds
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 Cup dried cranberries &/or dried apricots
1/2 Cup flaked sweetened coconut
Preheat oven to 300ºF.
Scatter oats over a large rimmed greased baking sheet and toast for ten minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from oven.
In a saucepan on the stove top, combine oil and maple syrup then bring to a boil – cook for one minute. Remove from heat and add cinnamon, mixing throughly.
In a large bowl, combine almonds and sesame seeds, add toasted oats, then mix together. Pour the oil/syrup mixture into the bowl and mix thoroughly.
Spread mixture in a thin layer on the baking sheet and return to oven. Toast for 20 minutes, stirring often, until light brown.
Pour into a bowl, add coconut and cranberries &/or apricots, then mix.
Store in the refrigerator. Freezes well.
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