Monday, January 23, 2006

JT Leroy Disaster Granola: Recipe

Jeff and I are going to Tybee Island this weekend. As usual when we travel anywhere, we're bringing all our food with us. Every meal, every snack, all our booze, coffee and tea will be served right by us in our hotel room. Both of us kind of dislike restaurants, plus I'm really cheap.

I decided this morning to make the granola, which is our typical "on the road" breakfast. I wish the story ended there. "I made granola." But sadly, no. There's more.

I mixed the granola--the raw oats and nuts and coconut and oat bran and all the rest--in a bowl and then turned on the oven to preheat it for the extra special roasting I give it.

While I was waiting for the oven to preheat, I decided I'd write an email to Jeff at work about JT Leroy. I'd sent Jeff an article about JT earlier, and we'd been discussing it.

For those of you who don't know the story, JT Leroy is (was?) the author of several very succesful "autobiographical" novels. His work told the story of his wretched childhood in West Virginia: terrible sexual, physical and emotional abuse, a truck-stop prostitute mother, teenage hustling, AIDS. The books were enormously succesful, attracting fans like Winona Ryder, (pictured with "JT" above) Madonna, Courtney Love, Carrie Fisher, Billy Corigan, Gus Van Sant, who all also became his friends. He was a media darling, the works getting rave reviews and he became sort of a mini-celebrity himself... and who wouldn't be moved by his story? Young writer triumphs over the most horrid adversity through his art.

Only one small problem: the books themselves--it was revealed in a recent NYT article--were written by a 40-year-old woman named Laura Albert from her comfy apartment in San Francisco. No one named JT Leroy (or resembling the JT Leroy of the works) ever existed. JT Leroy, during his rare public appearances--he claimed to be painfully shy (while partying with rock stars and celebrities, no less)--was played by none other than Laura Albert's sister-in-law.

It goes without saying that everyone who had given JT Leroy a hand during his rise to fame (and there were a LOT of celebs and famous writers who were taken in) felt totally duped.

(Note to the security department at Saks: Check to make sure the cameras are working. I think Winona's had a rough week and may be headed for a relapse).

Anyway, I sent Jeff an article about the debacle, and he thought the whole thing was a kind of cool elaborate art-prank. Celebs and lit journalists and the whole PR machine got their come-uppance for embracing a fake.

I agreed it was kind of fun seeing Courtney Love and the rest looking like asses, but the whole thing stank of rip-off to me. Very cold and calculating and cynical, telling everyone that this fake person had AIDS, selling books by claiming these experiences were real. It just seems totally conniving, a Grifter-style huckster con rip-off in the world of literature that I (idealistically, I admit) try to imagine as free of such crass commercial egotistical manipulations. Plus I thought the books were bad.

If you're interested in learning more about the Leroy story (and it's a doozey... I've given the barest outline) check here and here to start.

Anyway as I was writing all this to Jeff. I smelled something funny. "I hope that's not coming from my apartment," I thought and kept writing. A few moments later I caught the whiff again. "Hey," I thought, "that smells like smoke. Let me finish this important pense about JT Leroy and then I'll go check it out." A few moments later and I was all: "Holy phony literary wunderkind! That IS coming from my apartment!"

I ran into the kitchen just as I remembered that Jeff had left a starter dough for his famous ciabatta to ferment in the oven. Oops. And as I ran toward the oven I totally remembered Jeff's favorite method of fermenting his ciabatta dough: putting an electric blanket in the oven to keep things at just the right temperature. Oops.

Add "stinking up my kitchen with toxic smoke and gunking up my oven" to JT Leroy's list of crimes.

I finally cleaned up the kitchen and the oven and got the smoke out of our place, but my lungs still hurt, Miss Albert.
And you owe me and Jeff an electric blanket.

I hereby name this "JT Leroy's Disaster Granola." The granola is very amenable to experimentation with different fruits and nuts and grains. Just keep the basic proportions the same.

JT Leroy's Disaster Granola

6 cups oats
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 sesame seeds
1/4 cup macadamia nuts
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup unsalted soynuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup diced dried prunes
1/4 cup diced dried figs
1/4 cup dried cranberries

1. Open the oven door to check to see if anything's in there. If something is in there, take it out. Proceed.

2. Do not, under any circumstances, think about JT Leroy.

3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

4. In a very large bowl, mix the oats, nuts, oat bran, wheat germ, cinnamon, salt, coconut, oil and honey.

5. Bake for forty minutes, stirring every ten minutes so it roasts evenly.

6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Stir in the raisins and dried fruit.

7. Serve with milk or soymilk. Enjoy... and keep it real.


Anonymous Jim said...

You are so funny! The way you write is hilarious. I love reading your stories. Have fun at the beach.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous mark said...

I love reading your posts! Thanks!
Have a wonderful trip.

2:47 PM  
Blogger FilmStocker said...

Thanks for the kind words. i know I can't wait for this weekend. The beach will be a great chance to clear my mind... and my lungs!

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This made me giggle, and I needed that today. Can't wait to read all about JT Leroy. Have fun at Tybee island and call me when you guys get back in town. We should do stuff soon.


1:51 PM  
Blogger FilmStocker said...

Thanks, Liza. Glad my horrible kitchen disaster at least made you laugh... something good came out of all this.


See you soon.

8:33 PM  

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