Fashionable Food

Recipes from the Twentieth Century

from Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads

by Sylvia Lovegren

Health Foods in the Seventies—Pardon Me, Waiter, But There’s Some Granola in My Fondue

Health food, which had so alarmed the food and nutrition establishments in the Sixties, started appearing outside hippie enclaves and communes in the Seventies. Mainstream cookbooks like Virginia Pasley’s In Celebration of Food (1974) offered menus for “your vegetarian young people home from college.”

Many magazines, including Bon Appétit, started up “natural foods” columns. Even Gourmet, while it didn’t feature health foods, occasionally gave recipes for such things as soybeans with feta and peppers or bean sprout-mushroom salad. The food processing giants realized that “natural” products sold and scrambled to turn out “home-style” breads, yogurts with no additives, and especially granola.

Of all the health foods, granola was the one that seemed to have the broadest appeal. Nearly every big company had its own version: General Mills put out Nature Valley, Kellogg’s had Country Valley, Pet made Heartland, and Colgate-Palmolive came up with Alpen (which, unfortunately, sounded a little too much like the popular dog food Alpo). Quaker Oats had Quaker 100% Natural Cereal, which in 1974 was one of the top five selling brands of cereal, quite a feat considering that no other new brand had made the top five in almost thirty years.

It was hard not to like granola: It was laved with honey and oil and loaded with calories. But the calories were “natural” calories, at least in the granola that was bought in bulk at health food stores or made at home. Many of the supermarket store brands were packed with sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, and highly processed saturated palm and coconut oils. (In the Nineties, some manufacturers saw the “lite” and started making low-fat, fruit juice-sweetened granolas.)

Granola was the perfect breakfast food with fruit and milk or yogurt and was often carried in plastic sandwich bags for snacks. It was also sometimes used in desserts as the topping for fruit crisps or sprinkled over ice cream or fruits. Few felt the urge to incorporate it into savory dishes as did The Granola Cookbook (1973), which gave recipes for granola eggs Benedict, granola quiche Lorraine, granola eggplant Parmesan…and granola fondue.

Granola Fondue

This recipe has not been tested.

½ cup (1 stick) butter
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 ¼ cups warm milk
5 egg yolks, lightly beaten
¼ cup granola
¾ cup grated Parmesan
Dippers: whole wheat bread chunks, raw vegetables, apples

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic. Cook over low heat for a few minutes. Off the heat gradually stir in the milk, then return to the heat and cook until the mixture is smooth and has thickened slightly. Add some of the milk to the egg yolks to warm them, then stir the eggs into the milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Stir in the granola and cheese and serve with dippers.

Makes about 6 servings

Book details:

Sylvia Lovegren
Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads
With a new Preface
©1995, 2005 464 pages, 35 halftones, 7 line drawings
Paper $19.00 ISBN: 978-0-226-49407-4

For information on purchasing the book—from bookstores or here online—please go to the webpage for Fashionable Food.

See also: