You could call them ‘freaks’, actually they preferred it, really. You could label them followers of counter-culture, flower children or HIPPIES. They were the youth of the 60’s who wanted to break free from the ‘straight society’ of 50’s America. In Britain the movement started with anti-nuclear protests and also the growing culture of rock-n-roll music in colleges across the country. In the US they stayed clear of anti-nuclear weapon protest but came in thousands to the anti-Vietnam war protests. In their quest for world peace, drugs, marijuana and LSD were viewed not as dangerous addictive chemicals but as friendly substances which opened your mind to newer and more meditative dimensions.
To many Indians, the lasting association with hippies remains the Bollywood movie ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ and more so the song ‘Dum maro dum’, starring the very beautiful Zeenat Aman. Even I couldn’t resist listening to it while writing this post. For those who are not familiar with Hindi, this is basically what the song says “Let’s smoke marijuana and chill…we don’t care what the world says…we have nothing to do with the world”.
Actually, that pretty much summarizes the hippie message. The hippie movement started in the late 60’s in the United States and then spread all over the world. There was even a ‘Hippie trail’, the overland route from the Europe to Asia through Istanbul, Turkey over which most of the hippies traveled to reach Central and Southern Asia. Kathmandu was a hippie hub (they even have a street called “Freak Street’). Carrying only a backpack, they traveled all over the Indian subcontinent seeking liberating religious (and chemical) experiences. They were very interested in Hinduism and Buddhism. Unburdened by trivial things such as extra clothes and soap, the true long-haired itinerant hippie was likely to be grimy and smelly. Until even a few years ago, my mother (a simple lady from a small Indian town) had the idea that white people smell because they are averse to baths. This completely incorrect idea, which she developed during her growing up years, in its own way serves to underline how pervasive the connection between Westerners and hippies was for a whole generation of Indians.
Hippies were big on a diverse collection of topics (healthy eating, freedom, happiness, revolution, polygamy and promiscuous sex) in total forming a collective rejection of the mind-numbing sitcom-watching church-going strictly-conforming American society of the 50’s. Granola was a very popular ingredient in hippie culture, being healthy and wholesome, and became a staple to them. Even nowadays, compulsive generalizers continue to associate granola with tree-hugging, left-leaning liberals, kind of like the hippies without the drugs. Anyway, I am neither a hippie, nor left-leaning but I love granola. I got this recipe from the National Museum of American History FOOD exhibit, and it comes from an authentic hippie woman from 1969, just two years after the Summer of Love. Maybe she was there and the granola gave her energy throughout those frenetic days. All I can say is I hope she had loads of fun, for this is the most refreshing and tasty granola I’ve ever had and on top of that, it’s super easy to make.
(Recipe courtesy: Donna Dorado http://www.woodstockpreservation.org/Gallery/TheFoodLine.htm)
Rolled oats: 3 cups
Slivered almonds: 1 cup
Shredded coconut: ½ cup (optional)
Sunflower seeds: ¼ cup (optional)
Cashews/walnuts/pecans: 1 cup
Dark brown sugar: ¼ cup packed tight
Canola/vegetable oil: ¼ cup
Maple syrup: ¼ cup (very full)
Raisin (preferably golden raisin): 1 cup
Salt: 2 pinch
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees
- In a large bowl mix the ingredients up to dark brown sugar.
- In a separate bowl mix the canola oil, maple syrup and the salt really well.
- Add it to the oats mixture and mix well.
- Spread it on a cookie/baking sheet and bake for around 70-80 minutes.
- Stir every 15-20 minutes.
- Transfer it to a bowl and add the raisin and mix once again.
- Store it in an air tight container.
**Taste the granola after an hour or so. The actual time might vary from oven to oven. Keep an eye not to burn it. It comes out very crisp and tasty. Try to buy a good maple syrup without any additive in it; it makes a difference in the taste. You can eat it either as a snack or as a breakfast cereal. I didn’t add shredded coconut and sunflower seeds and it still tasted very good.
*** Warning: It’s very addictive. 🙂