So who exactly is Mildred Pierce?

Well, imagine this. Imagine Hollywood, in the late 1940s. Imagine a woman with dark hair and fiery red lips. She’s passionate. She’s flawed. She’s gorgeous. She’s the jilted wife. The long-suffering mother. Her life is a drama fit for the silver screen.

Mild_2But you can’t get just anyone to play Mildred. No. You get Joan Crawford, a woman who knows controversy. She’s perfect. She is Mildred Pierce! And you know you made the right choice because Ms. Crawford goes on to win an Oscar for her portrayal of Mildred. The movie, released in 1945, is a classic.

So when you decide to name your restaurant Mildred Pierce, after the movie, you’ve got to do it right. The restaurant has to be sumptuous and luxurious. It has to have a classic Hollywood feel to it. We’re all strangers when we dine there. And yet while we’re sitting there, amidst the flowing curtains and rich colours, we all feel a bit like a starlet or a leading man.

By the very act of dining at Mildred Pierce, it’s like you’re in the movie. Look … there’s spoiled Veda. And over there … I think that’s deceitful Monte. And isn’t that … why yes it is … it’s Wally Fay. And sitting in the curtained alcove … smoking a cigarette … there’s Mildred herself. Well I’ll be! You just never know who you’re going to see when you go to dinner.

And when you do go to Mildred Pierce, especially for brunch, you can’t just have any old thing. You must have a drink like Mildred’s Passion or Veda’s Revenge. You must break your fast with dishes like Huevos Monty or Mrs. Biederhof’s Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes. Or you can have the most decadent granola you’ve ever had in your life!

You’ll taste it and be amazed that it’s actually healthy … that’s how rich it is. If you have a bit of conscience left you’ll remember that your trying to eat locally grown and produced foods so you’ll soak your granola in milk from Hewitt’s Dairy. You’ll do it because the milk tastes creamy and cool. Not just because it’s produced by a family that’s been in business in Ontario for over 100 years.

So that’s what it’s like to have brunch at Mildred Pierce. And when you’re done, you touch up your red lipstick or slick back your hair one more time and then you make your grand exit. And you know that every eye in the joint is on you as you leave.

Now if only you could just get someone to peel you a grape …


Crunchy Coconut Macadamia Granola with Honey

Adapted from Out to Brunch by Donna Dooher and Claire Stubbs.

  • 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (original recipe calls for 1/2  teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange oil (original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the sunflower seeds, the pumpkin seeds and the almonds and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Toast in the oven for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the shredded coconut and toast for an additional 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the coconut because it can burn quickly.
  4. Remove the nuts and coconut and set aside to cool down completely.
  5. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
  6. Combine the oat bran, rolled oats, cinnamon and ginger.
  7. In a pan, melt the butter. Add the honey and orange oil and mix well.
  8. Pour the butter/honey mixture over the oat mixture and mix well.
  9. Spread the oat mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes and then turn the oat mixture. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until golden.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Once cool, break the granola apart into small pieces and place in a bowl. Add the cooled nuts and coconut, the macadamia nuts, currants and apricots.
  12. Store the granola in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  13. Enjoy!

Note:  This recipe will make about 5 cups of granola. Orange oil is a highly concentrated orange extract that should be used sparingly. While the original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, I would only use 1/4 teaspoon to start. If you want more of an orange flavour use more the next time you make the granola. The orange oil should be stored in the refrigerator once opened.

The image of the Mildred Pierce poster is courtesy of www.filmsite.org.

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