The Rumbly Tummy: Brambled Berry Bars
You don't need to eat what you've been served...
You can run out to the corn fields,
Brambled berries for dessert,
But you don't need to eat what you've been served.
The latest single, "You're Not Going Alone," is coming out this Friday, the second from our upcoming record We're Only Family If You Say So. It's a song about never being able to go home again-- or maybe it's about taking home with you wherever you go.
Sometimes estrangement looks like breaking from family traditions, too. Food is a big one. Try becoming a vegetarian and going back to your folks' place for Thanksgiving. By the third time your mother asks why you won't "Just try a little turkey," you'll realize that food isn't just part of tradition, it's part of a deep emotional root. One that, when pulled, can make you feel uprooted entirely from the system that has sustained you. Best case scenario, a few bumpy holidays later, the jokes at your expense decrease, and the vegetarian sides become more expansive. Worst case scenario, your sister secretly spikes the stuffed mushrooms with bacon and you spend the rest of the day curled in a ball in your childhood room, wondering why you keep coming here.
For several years, we made concessions each family holiday, breaking for whatever it was that made us feel less like pariahs and more like part of the gang. We'd pay for it with guilt or stomach aches later. Until, eventually, we stopped letting what tradition said have its say, and we began to Say So. Compromise is part of a healthy family structure. But so are boundaries. And while food preferences and allergies may seem insignificant, try watching Scott's grandmother's face when he refuses her peach cobbler. The betrayal is palpable. Then, try looking at the face of your sister-in-law with several food allergies look at a table full of things she can't consume. That is another betrayal entirely.
When we wrote the line "You don't need to eat what you've been served," it was with these boundaries in mind. I (Mallory) had been recently cast out of the family, grasping at things that made me still feel connected-- the maples in Michigan reminding me of the maple tree in my childhood backyard. The blackberry bushes. Then, I counted the small ways I was banished-- the onslaught of jabs for the way that I ate. The laughter when I asked to be included. In our little family, we've made compromises. Scott cut gluten out when we found out I had an allergy. I concede to making tacos at least once a week for his love of them. We also make boundaries. We don't eat at places that make us feel less than for our choices. We don't eat bacon laced soup just because it was served to us.
And then there's the larger issue-- the food that our culture has been heaping on us. Don't get me wrong, this little folk band can tear through a bag of Fritos faster than you-don't-wanna-know. We are marketed all sorts of both obviously and insidiously bad foods, piled with pesticides and unsustainable sources. We've made an incredible effort-- often failing-- to stick it to the Big Food Industry and buy locally, sustainably, and organically. We don't have to eat what we've been served. But that also comes at a cost-- being viewed as snooty, picky, not to mention the expense. Compromise and boundaries again. Sometimes we run out to the fields, sometimes in a pinch we grab a bag from a gas station. We do the best we can.
We know, we know-- get to the recipe already! If this speech hasn't got your appetite worked up, we don't know what will. For January, Mallory has cut out refined and cane sugar in solidarity with her friend, Annie. If food is a love language, then food solidarity is, too. This means, her sweet tooth has been aching. That is why this month's Rumbly Tummy, in preparation for our new single release this Friday, we present Brambled Berry Bars. Here you will get a tart and sweet treat with only 4 TBSP of maple syrup. Yum.
Yes, we know berries aren't in season right now. Yes, we compromised. Yes, substitutions are always welcome. And if you don't like it, remember: you don't need to eat what you've been served for us to like you just as you are.
Brambled Berry Bars
1 1/2- 2 cups berries, depending on how many berries you like.
4 TBSP maple syrup divided in half
3 TBSP water
2 TBSP and water mixed
1 1/2 Cup oats
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 Gluten Free Flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter/ coconut oil melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add berries with 3 TBSP water, 2 TBSP maple syrup to sauce pan. Cook on medium high heat until berries are broken down. Add cornstarch/water mixture. Stir 30-60 seconds longer. Set aside.
Combine oats, almond meal, flour, salt, cinnamon. Mix. Add melted butter and remaining maple syrup.
Take an 8x8 pan, lined with parchment paper, press half to 3/4 of mixture into the bottom of the pan with your fingers. Pour on berry mixture, spreading evenly. Sprinkle remaining flour mixture on top.
Bake 25- 30 minutes.
Remove from oven. Let cool at least 30 minutes before cutting, Longer is preferable, but if you're like us, you can't wait. We enjoyed ours as more "heaps" than bars. :)