Illustration by Margo Rivera-Weiss

During a recent airing of A Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor quipped: “Pleasure is generic and suffering is individual.”

Far be it from me to contradict the “modern-day Mark Twain,” as Keillor is often called, but as images from the films of Les Blank float through my mind, I can’t help thinking Keillor got it backwards. During nearly half a century of documentary filmmaking, Blank captured many memorable scenes of people sharing and perpetuating unique pleasures through their traditions in food, dance, and music making. A Berkeley resident, Blank left our world on April 7. We celebrate his life with a remembrance by two of his local friends and associates in our “Last Bite” on page 52. If you are not familiar with Blank’s films, start by checking out these food-centric titles: All In This Tea (2008), Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers (1980), and Always for Pleasure (1978).

Back in the summer of 2006, I had the pleasure of picking peaches with Les Blank at “Mas” Masumoto’s farm near Fresno. Before we left the orchard, Les gathered up all the fallen, bruised peaches that other pickers had left behind. When I asked how he would use such a plethora of fruit, he told me he would be putting most of it on his homemade granola. Our conversations about gleaning, plus Les’s granola recipe, became part of an article that ran in Edible East Bay Fall 2006, now archived at edibleeastbay.com. At left is the recipe reprinted, just in case you find yourself with a surfeit of gleaned fruit.

So, don’t miss the chance to pick and share some pleasure this season. After you have, please let me know if it seems more generic or individual!

Cheryl Angelina Koehler



P.S. Please join Edible East Bay at Edible Tastings, a new feature this year at the Live Oak Park Fair, June 8 and 9 in Berkeley’s Live Oak Park. It will be a great opportunity to taste lots of delicious locally made foods, or even offer your own products!


Inspired by the recipe from
Diet for a Small Planet, 1st ed.

7–8 cups organic rolled oats
1 cup organic rolled wheat or rye
½ to 1 cup organic wheat germ
½ to 1 cup organic bran
½ to 1 cup shredded coconut (optional)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
⅓ cup dried milk powder
½ cup honey
½ cup olive oil
2 cups nuts and/or seeds (Les suggests local walnuts or almonds, and for seeds, sunflower, pumpkin, or sesame)
2–3 tablespoons vanilla (Les makes his own vanilla by letting a vanilla bean macerate in rum for a year or two)
2 cups bee pollen
1 cup ground flax seed

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spread out rolled oats and rolled wheat or rye in a large roasting pan and toast for 30 to 40 minutes until golden, stirring often and watching to make sure the grains do not burn. Remove pan from oven and stir in wheat germ, bran, optional coconut, nutritional yeast, and dried milk powder. Return to oven for 5 minutes, then remove pan again and stir in honey, olive oil, and vanilla. Toast for another 5 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool.

In another roasting pan, toast the nuts and/or seeds in the oven, keeping each type separate, since each requires a different toasting time. Keep a close watch so as not to burn them. Add to granola and allow it to cool.

Stir bee pollen and flax seeds into granola, and pack into recycled yogurt containers for storage.

Serve with yogurt and lots of cut-up gleaned fruit.