Tuesday, May 22, 2012

foodmusic no. 1

The Fall, "Eat Y'self Fitter"
recorded in Austurbæjarbíó, Reykjavik, Iceland, May 6th 1983

A sentimental choice for me to begin this series with; I fucking love the Fall. The amount of Fall in my iTunes is measured in days rather than hours. I'm not sure what to point you towards if you're not familiar with them. The band's Wiki page isn't bad; it succinctly explains, for example, that Mark E. Smith's lyrics are "abstract poetry filled with complicated wordplay, bone-dry wit, cutting social observations, and general misanthropy." This interview with Smith in the Independent last year is really good, actually, as reading and as a snapshot of what the band is about, but it's long. Likewise this Taylor Parkes essay in the Quietus about his lyrics. This review from Sasha Frere-Jones is relatively short and actually pretty good. (Smith "apparently imagines that the Fall is the only band that matters, and it’s a view that bears examination.") The best thing I've recently read about the Fall is this interview from Wire in the mid-90s, which opens with a quote observing that MES's "constant love-battle with his goblin-muse always leaves him stronger." 

I'm not going to have recipes accompany all of my foodmusic posts, I don't think, but I'm going to be very literal with this one and use it as an occasion to discuss home-made granola, which I've just started making. (There must be something in the air). It's granola-ah when the Fall is playing in the background. (Cf. Mynah (n): "Belonging to Mark E. Smith."). It's got to be the most un-Fall thing one can eat, this shit breakfast for soft middle class barley-bothering assholes, unless that dubious honor goes to the quince aioli I'm making later this week. 

What do your new running friends put in their granola?

I got all ascetic about my first batch of granola and cut way down on the oil. It's generally made with a lot of oil, both store-bought and home-made, but I'm reducing for summer. I've also tucked away some portraits of tubby food bloggers in my attic for good measure. Do you know what happens if you're stingy with the oil in your granola? Your granola is dry, dry and healthy-tasting. It's not quite mean granola but it's an acquired taste, like the Fall. I'm kind of into it right now but I'm assuming you won't be, so there's an alternate choose-your-own-granola-adventure quantity of oil in the recipe below. My dry granola is too dry to eat happily on its own but for me it's fine with yogurt because I tend to add wetter things with it: fresh fruit and a squeeze of sorghum syrup or a spoonful of honey.


If you're using coconut flakes in your granola,
add them before the last 5 minutes of baking.

The recipe is an adaptation of this one from Hungry Hippie (what kind of hippies do you get your granola recipes from?) and as I mentioned above I used way less oil. As in, half of what the original recipe called for. That's why mine didn't clump in that clumpy granola way. If you want clumps, double the oil. Note too that I left out the nuts — I cook with nuts a lot and always have different types on hand, and I prefer to add whatever needs using up when it's granola-eating time. If you have nuts you want to use, by all means, add them along with the other dry ingredients. I left out the dried fruit as well. Sliced apricots, figs, and dates are particularly nice, alone or in combination, but as I mentioned I tend to eat my granola with fresh fruit. If you want to use dried fruits add them at the end, after your granola has cooled and is ready to be transferred to the granola jar. I used coconut oil in this batch because it's rather a hip grease and I like the way it boosts the flavor of the coconut flakes, but my next batch will be coconut-free and made with olive oil like this.

homemade granola

makes 1 big jar of granola

1 cup whole rolled oats
1 cup barley flakes (I get mine from these people)
1/3 cup red quinoa (any kind of quinoa is OK)
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup (I like Grade B for cooking because it's got a stronger flavor)
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 teaspoons cinnamon
a generous pinch of fine sea salt
a generous grating of nutmeg
parchment paper for lining your pans, or a bit more coconut oil for greasing them

Heat your oven to 225º F. Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl except the coconut and the cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add the coconut oil and the sweeteners — feel free to use either one singly instead, or honey — and stir well until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated. Only then should  you add the spices and the pinch of salt. Reserve the coconut flakes until later. Give everything in the bowl another good stir to make sure the spices are evenly distributed. Bake the granola on two sheet pans lined with parchment paper (or lightly greased with more coconut oil) for approximately one hour, rotating the pans and stirring the granola half way through. Five minutes or so before the end of the baking time, scatter the coconut flakes over the top of the pans. (The coconut would burn if baked along with the rest of the granola.)


  1. wow, that's a helluva post: The Fall (Live at the Austurbæjarbíó!), fitness freaks, hippies, and ultra-ascetic granola--can't wait to read about the aioli and the olive-oil granola--and thanks for the link!

    1. Fitness freaks in short shorts -- I just don't know how to relate to the other kind. So serious.

      I'm going to go full maple with my next batch like your secret-method Canadian regional granola. I think a buttery olive oil and a maple-y maple could add up to granola bliss.

  2. Anonymous3:53 AM

    Belatedly, other alimentary Fall songs you might have featured here had ‘Eat yourself fitter’ not been the peach of a number that it is:

    Kurious oranj
    Faust banana
    Mollusc in Tyrol
    Squid Lord
    Free range
    Popcorn double feature
    Gut of the quantifier
    The mixer
    Spoilt Victorian child (oh yes, they used to eat their children for pudding back then)
    Athlete cured
    No bulbs (for the emotional container gardener, as opposed to driver)

    Can we surmise on the basis of this that Mark E’s diet consists of a surprising amount of fruit and sea food? I think we can.

    1. Ha! Quite a list! I have been thinking about this too, actually, because I've been listening to the song Kurious Oranj lately, and then Faust Banana came to mind when I did the banana post. I think you're right, a fruit and sea food thing there.

      In the Independent interview I linked to MES said he likes the food in Cardiff a lot, especially a breakfast he had there, but he didn't say what about. Perhaps a cockle conspiracy afoot.