For the last several years, I’ve enjoyed leading an April-in-Alabama history walking tour through Cullman. Like Martina McBride sang, “word gets around in a small, small town,” and I’ve been fortunate to attract some positive, fun buzz and good-sized crowds.
To keep it interesting for any repeats and myself, I try to give things a new twist each tour. This year, the hills came alive with the sound of music and a wee salute to Germany, recognizing that my north Alabama town was created in the 1870s to be a consummate “German colony in America.” We added some giggles with dachshunds and Deutschland donuts.
Creating a half-mile “cake walk” one year proved to be a sweet success, and that good-sized crowd grew some. We walked a half-block and sampled cannolis at Carlton’s Italian, walked another half-block for made-from-scratch orange rolls at the All-Steak Restaurant, walked another half-block for homemade strawberry cake at Southern Accents, walked another half-block for Duchess Donuts and rounded it off with apple crumb cake at Karma’s Coffee House.
I know what you’re thinking: WOWZA, that’s a lot of sugar-propelled, sidewalk schlogging! You’re right. So, next April, The JOYrontologist wants to create a joy-giving tour that will combine some fun, history facts, cakes and other pleasures to delight walkers and non-walkers.
JOY JAUNT to CELEBRATE 150 YEARS
Cullman was founded in April 1873, so the “JOY JAUNT” I’m proposing would have 150 “joyful moments” in 150 minutes. We will commence at 9:30 a.m. at the statue of city founder, Colonel John Cullmann, on the lawn of the history museum. Then, we head east on the sidewalks (no roadblocks necessary, though we will have volunteer safety patrols). You will traverse at your own speed having fun and guides along the route and return for German Riesling-ish toasts and birthday cake at noon at the museum gazebo. (Note: Next year is also the 200th birthday of Colonel Cullmann, born in Frankweiler, Germany, on July 2, 1823.)
JOY JAUNT IN YOUR NECK OF THE WOODS
Whether you’re in Paducah, Pittsburgh or Paris – wherever you are – let’s plan on adding more smiles with a site-centric, uniquely designed “JOY JAUNT” where you call home. Plan to meet some strangers and enjoy some FREE HUGS and UNITING with some of the most joyous folks around. Please contact The JOYrontologist, I’d love to brainstorm and have some NEIGHBORING joy with you.
S.U.N.S. ACCESSIBLE-TO-ALL JOY JAUNT SIDEWALK STROLL (no roadblocks)—The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a “jaunt” as: “a short journey or excursion undertaken especially for pleasure.” A jaunt allows for some randomness and entertaining disorder and “happy surprises;” it’s not an overly orchestrated parade excruciatingly scripted by the local authorities. With that in mind, I put on my jaunty “thinking cap” and have these ideas to consider for next year’s “JOY JAUNT” designed for my town with 150, joy-giving things we might explore on our celebratory ramble.
S.U.N.S. JOY JAUNTS IDEAS
1—JOY-GIVING JOLLITY AT THE HISTORY MUSEUM—We can save the somber events and solemn pronouncements for another day. On the “JOY JAUNT” in my town, we want to step into the size 16 footprints of Governor “Big Jim” Folsom, see the beer keg tap invented by the German, beer-guzzling founding father, Colonel Cullmann, and wink at the smiling photo of Mr. Speegle who fathered 26 children. The country comic character, Minnie Pearl, was created in these here parts, so I reckon we’ll have some fun from the ladies, too. If your stomping grounds can match our town for fun, we’re rolling there next.
2—PUPPIES and KITTENS shown by the Humane Society—in our town, this could salute “Toby,” the Thompson’s, an early founding family, famous hound dog. We might also have some Auburn Tigers but not sure about Georgia Bulldogs.
3—FREE NECK MASSAGE from a local masseuse/masseur
4—FREE BOOKMARKS and a “one-minute, once-upon-a-time” children’s story from the public library
5—JAW-DROPPING JOY AT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH—This is what God would have created if He had more imagination and cash. The heavy wood doors on the front make the Sacred Heart of Jesus building feel like a fortress but all are welcomed to come pray, worship and gawk. Try to time your “JOY JAUNT” for a time Barry Stoner is playing something grand like Bach or Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” on the powerful pipe organ. Feast your eyes on the gilded sculptures of “The Stations of the Cross,” and the masterfully faux marble of the main altar. This is where I’ve experienced the most joyful funerals. Even on a gray day outside the loftiness of the architecture and grandeur lifts one’s spirit to the heavens.
6—SPORTS HEROES and HEROINES at THE CULLMAN TRIBUNE—Take yourself to the best ballgame memories in your area. In our town, we could include stories from the nearby Jesse Owens Sports Museum.
7—ACCORDION/CONCERTINA LESSON and MINI-CONCERT; an organ grinder with monkey could really send this over-the-top if the monkey is having a good time, too.
8—FUN COSTUMES TO RENT from the “It’s My Party” store and the joy of chatting with owner, Judy Nelms, who can match me for “zaniness” almost any day of the week. Don’t let the October calendar dictate your joy, wear your funnest, Halloween costume on a “JOY JAUNT.”
9—AFRICAN JOY from Kenya Relief; this group does serious, humanitarian work but they also have fun on their own transcontinental “JOY JAUNTS”
10—SCENTED OILS from a health food store at the sight of a former, oil derrick in our downtown.
11—CANNOLIS at CARLTON’S ITALIAN, a popular stop on our “History Cake Walk”
12—THE SOUND of the U.S.S. ALABAMA foghorn at the mural
13—ANTIQUE SCHOOLBOOKS and ABC FLASHCARDS—German language ones in our town at Village Furniture the site of our high school
14—ROLLER SKATER/SKATEBOARDER at Village Furniture site of skating rink
15—BLESSING BY A PRIEST at Catholic Social Services with a St. Christopher message for travelers
16—SAFE HAVEN BOMBING DRILL PRACTICE at nuclear bomb shelter (basement of Sacred Heart church)
17—WAVING SANTA—Did your town have a “Waving Santa” display in some Christmas window? Ours’ was at Kessler’s Florist (site of Happy Homes Real Estate) and it was a mid-century tradition for parents to drive by so kids could wave back. Since it would be “Christmas in April,” Wes Warren’s crowd-pleasing “Elf” character could run away from the Christmas parade and “flash bomb” the JOY JAUNT.
18—OPERA SNIPPET—The Esther Opera House in our town was named for the mayor’s daughter. It was more “horse opera” than “grand opera” but the site is good for some German Wagner “Brunhilde” aria-ette; Virginia Goodall, Smith Lake diva, and Cullman’s “Hello Dolly” dame, Kim Trelles, would be gloriously grande. Wayne Cook and some of his summer music theatre chums could make it a “TRADITION” to delight with a few tasty morsels from “Fiddler on the Roof.” “TO LIFE, L’CHAIM!!”
19—CHALK DRAWING the word “JOY” near handicapped access sidewalk ramps. Also, enjoy the NEIGHBORING of “pressure washing” another sidewalk.
20—SIP OF SASSAFRAS TEA—new, joy-gulped taste to savor for “sweet tea-swiggin’” Southerners
21—“JOYFUL COLOR PALETTE” selected by a local paint store, Richter’s in our case. Maria Richter Schultz, a lady of German ancestry who married a gent with German ancestry, is the most-knowledgeable paint color professional I’ve ever known. Research shows the color “BLUE” is the most joyful, and Maria can help you choose “THE MOST JOYFUL BLUE FOR YOU!”
22—MASTER GARDENERS “JOY BASKET”—Plant Sale “teaser” and reservations for particular plants. “Dig in the dirt” in a raised bed garden. Get some FREE Rx for an ailing houseplant.
23—MAGIC 8-BALL ANSWERS—where pool hall was/is
24—KARAOKE—Ask Danny from Goat Island Brewery to be the “master of ceremonies.” Blaine Corbin, this is your chance to bring your mellow sound and turn Downtown Cullman into Conway Twitty City.
25—LOCAL FASHION DESIGNER in SHOP WINDOW—We could proudly have world-class, Charles Kleibacker designs at former Stiefelmeyer’s Department Store location
26—BEEHIVE HAIRDO at LOCAL BEAUTY SHOP—in our town, a classic is the Vogue Beauty Salon on Second Avenue. Also, “BEST 1970s SHAG” and “BEST 1980s MULLET.”
27—MUSIC BOX at ANTIQUE STORE—Christmas tune at Margo’s where the holiday is magnificently celebrated almost year-round. Enjoy some “RETAIL THERAPY” in this maximalist emporium.
28—JOYFUL SWEETS at a REAL, PASTRY SHOP—Anything and everything at Flavors
29—VALENTINE JOY for EVERYONE at the former post office site. Also, THANK A POSTAL WORKER, heroes and heroines of the COVID pandemic.
30—MAKE A WISH IN FOUNTAIN—Local bank could provide pennies at the Frankweiler “Sister City” fountain. Be aspirational for yourself, others, your town.
31—BIRTHSTONES—at site of current/former jeweler
32—LUCKY POKER DRAW at site of former saloon. Many historic saloon sites to choose from in Cullman
33—CLASSIC RADIO PLAYING LOCAL TALENT—Linda Manning songs at WKUL. Hank Williams, Jr. used to live in our town. Ron Moseley, please play “All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down.”
34—VINTAGE LOCAL PACKAGING—King Pharr Canning, Deep South Creamery, King Edward Cigars
35—VINTAGE FOOTWEAR at site of former shoe shop; include white rubber boots from Golden Rod Broiler chicken plant
36—1960s HIPPIES with tambourines and guitar–If you’re going to Cullman, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
37—TOOTH FAIRY BALLET DANCER—sponsored by a dentist (Signature Smiles, Dr. Marecle?) and Brooke Desnoes Ballet Academy
38—CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CLOWN at doctor’s current/former site in what was formerly our town’s “medical center.” Who will be Cullman’s “Patch Adams?”
39—HISPANIC DANCE—involve those who attend the Spanish-speaking mass at Sacred Heart Church.
40—MARIACHI MUSIC BAND—involve Pastor Raul at the Spanish-speaking service at First United Methodist Church.
41—CHARLESTON DANCE EXHIBITION at a 1920s “speakeasy” location
42—THREE TENORS, every town has at least three great ones
43—THREE STOOGES, every town has more than three
44—HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE KISSES—Cathie Abbott who sells delicious, fresh bread and desserts at the Festhalle Farmers Market would be superb for this
45—MINI-POPCORN BALLS—Kernel Kullman Popcorn Shop
46—BLUEBIRDS of HAPPINESS/LOVEBIRDS/PARROTS/CANARIES sponsored by a local veterinarian or PetSmart, Pet Depot
47—JAZZ COMBO like the 1940s with some “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” Andrews Sisters wannabees at the train depot
48—RED CARPET PHOTOGRAPHERS with tiaras and top hats
49—PIRATE DAY PROMO with TREASURE CHEST…Aaaaaargh!
50—BOCCE DEMONSTRATION at some grass area, maybe the turf next to Carlton’s Italian
51—CROQUET DEMONSTRATION at some grass area near sidewalks
52—CORNHOLE CONTEST – Only 1 throw allowed; winners get two trophies, but everybody gets a trophy because this is a…”JOY JAUNT”
53—MINI-MOVIE at the POWER COMPANY—Cullman-inspired “BIG FISH” would be a great, cinematic choice; maybe just a movie trailer on the “JOY JAUNT” and an invitation for a full screening
54—FREE BLOOD PRESSURE from the health department and a pat on the back for trying to take better care of yourself. For better mental health, SHOWER YOURSELF WITH SELF-LOVE in a confetti fountain.
55—BUTCHER FRYING BACON—enticing “surround smell” supplied by local butchery
56—MOONSHINE STILL and JUG BAND
57—BABY VEGGIES at FARMER’S MARKET—Festhalle “Power of Produce (POP)”
58—SEEING FROM A NEW, ASLANT PERSPECTIVE—playground, slant board
59—“HIDDEN MESSAGE” POLICE DETECTIVE SEARCH sponsored by the community outreach officer at Cullman Police Department
60—FREE COUPONS THIS DAY ONLY for all kinds of things around town (good for a full week)
61—BANJO MUSIC pickin’ and grinnin’ from some local yokels
62—FA-SO-LA a cappella from the Cullman Courthouse singers
63—APPLE CIDER promoting Peinhardt Farm Day
64—ROCKABILLY MUSIC at CAFÉ “POP-UP”—involve the 18 guitars of the Vinemont High School Band
65—WAITRESS/COOKS/BARTENDERS HALL OF FAME—new inductees and vintage photos
66—BARBERSHOP SHAVING TONIC SCENT—roster of all the Cullman barbers from 1873 to 2023
67—LOCAL POET—Will Drake, a future Alabama Poet Laureate and current Cullman High School literature teacher elevates the written word
68—CHURCH BELLS PEALING—My town which once had more saloons than religious sanctuaries, is known by some as “The City of Churches.” We could pray to get many of the churches to ring their bells at some given day/time.
69—COMMEMORATIVE ORNAMENTS at Leldon’s in the Cullman Warehouse District with a specially designed 150th Cullman anniversary salute scrolled in wood
70—LOCALLY MADE FURNITURE—Dreher’s Furniture Manufacturing
71—SIGNATURE MOCKTAIL—Dreher’s Cocktail Bar
72—BEEKEEPERS’ BUZZ with local honey tasting (see recipe below)
73—TUMBLING OFF A TURNIP TRUCK—Local gymnasts, tumblers and acrobats safely performing from the bed of a vintage pick-up surrounded by gym mats
74—YODELING and HOG-CALLING at the FARMER’S MARKET—Swiss and German settlers brought yodeling to these Appalachian Mountain foothills and we will revive the nearly lost art at our German architecture, Festhalle
75—WEIGHTLIFTER/BODY-SCULPTING POSES by pre-Olympians
76—SOUTHERN EATS taste tradition samples like “fresh takes” on pimento cheese
77—CREATE AN ORIGINAL, 2-MINUTE FRISBEE ART PAINTING with Bo Shirey and his local, “Disc Golf” teammates
78—BELL-RINGING RETIRED SCHOOL MARMS/MASTERS with DUNCE-CAP WEARERS. Dot Gudger, Jethro Harbison and all the Cullman retired school professionals, please call the roll of your throngs of former students.
79—PIN-ON MINI-POSIES or DISCOUNT COUPONS from local flower vendors like Burke’s Florist, Cullman Florist or Fairview Florist
80—RAGTIME PIANO or JAZZ BAND with Cullman Community Band
82—BADMINTON on a LAWN/HANDBALL on a WALL
83—FREE “VISIT HERE” TOURISM POSTCARDS
84—EMBOSSED LETTTERPRESS by local printing group
85—“CUTE AS A BUG” PHOTOS with mascot from Cook’s Nature Museum
86—“I WILL VOTE in 2024” STICKERS and voter registration information
87—FOUR PRAYERS CIRCLE with REQUEST FORMS for “THANK, GIMME, OOPS and WOW” and a troubadour singing that locally written prayer song
88—YOU’RE A STITCH COMMUNITY QUILT–add a hand touch with a local quilting guild
89—PUPPET THEATRE with an 1870s “Punch and Judy” show
90—“MOVE MORE” Alabama Cooperative Extension Systems exercise/nutrition campaign
91—FEEL THE COLOR BRAILLE MURAL sponsored by the Lions Club
92—MORNIN’ DEER VENISON SAUSAGE BALLS by local game-hunters
93—FROM HERE TO THE MOON with NASA Space Camp information
94—SUPERMAN IN A PHONE BOOTH and maybe Marilyn Monroe being blown by a fan
95—ELVIS IMPERSONATOR—our town has both a medical doctor and a dentist who could rival “The King” performing “All Shook Up” and “Suspicious Minds”
96—“BIG FISH” TAXIDERMY from BassMasters at Smith Lake
97—HARRY POTTER and FICTION CHARACTERS from local used bookstore, Camelot Books, or from corporate store Books-A-Million
98—COLLECT RUBBER BRACELETS from lots of nonprofits and for-profits groups
99—SHRINE OF THE BLESSED SACREMENT safe tours for the handicapped information
100—CHRISTMAS CANDLE PYRAMID announcement for Holiday, 2023
101—“ENCHANTED FOREST” information about the Wildflower and Woodlands Garden at SPORTSMAN LAKE which has recently had a renaissance thanks to the Cullman County Master Gardeners. FREE WILDFLOWER SEED PODS.
102—THE HAUK FAMILY BAND—Every town worth its salt had a group of musicians who added joy to gatherings of the early days. In Cullman, the talented Hauk family entertained on one of the boats carrying German immigrants which Colonel Cullmann cajoled to sail the Atlantic and settle in North Alabama. The Colonel also enjoyed the Hauks’ performances at his grand home on Sunday afternoons. I personally know the present-day Cullman Hauks. Both Ernest and Betty play piano, Susan can play a radio and Addison is already accomplished on the spoons. I’m doing my darnedest to set the stage for the band’s reunion concert.
103—FREE WATER BOTTLES from the Cullman Water Department, also view framed images of early waterworks blueprints and drinking water springs
104—VINTAGE CARS ON EVERY BLOCK from the 1920s to the latest “electric car” sponsored by Cullman Electric Cooperative
105—POODLE SKIRTS and POODLES salute the classic cafes like The Globe Drive-In and the Mug & Cone
106—CONTRA DANCE DEMONSTRATIONS of early, “line dance” traditions English, Scottish and French immigrants brought to the Appalachian area
107—AUDUBON SOCIETY IS FOR THE BIRDS—local birders share updates on the Guntersville Lake Eagle Watch Weekend and the annual Christmas Bird Count
108—“ROCK THE SOUTH” 2023 ANNOUNCEMENT and 2022 PHOTOS—this hugely successful “outdoor concert” is one of the most popular, entertainment events in the American South. Come shake Shane Quick’s hand, the local hero who imagined “Rock the South” and continues to make it rock.
109—YOGA & PRETZELS—This demonstration would combine the good, body-twisting health benefits of Asian yoga techniques with the good taste of German pretzels. My “go to” gurus for this twistin’ party are yoga instructor, Fabian Holland (celebrating her 70th birthday next February), Tina Culpepper, also Sister Mary McGehee and other yoga-instructing nuns at the local Sacred Heart convent and spiritual retreat; pretzels could be made by a home baker with a “cottage license” or at the Kernel Kullman’s popcorn shop in the Cullman Warehouse District.
110—DOO WOP STREET CORNER A CAPELLA SINGING is a must for any “JOY JAUNT,” and longtime performer, Rodney Basenburg of The Diptones and now Cullman Community Theatre would make Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons wish they could sing as well
111—VIDEO GAMING at the “Tech Village” sponsored by Cullman Economic Development would be the one time during the “JOY JAUNT” when phone-addicted nerds are encouraged to stare at their screens. Plan for a specially designed “video treat”
112—HERITAGE MUSIC, SQUARE DANCING and CLOGGING could be sponsored by the North Alabama AGRIPLEX
113—”ALABAMA’S MOST SOUGHT AFTER STUD” could be proudly admired in an area sponsored by the Alabama Cattleman’s Association. VOW TO EAT MORE STEAK and HAMBURGERS—research shows that people who eat less than the recommended amount of red meat are twice as likely to feel depressed and joy-starved
114—SCHERENSCHNITTE, the German of art of paper cutting design, could be exhibited/demonstrated and orders taken for 2023 Christmas cards
115—SILHOUETTE ARTIST CRAFT popular in 1870s would be demonstrated and sittings arranged for children of all ages to be celebrated by an artist accomplished in this technique
116—THE MOST-STUBBORN, MULEHEADED MULE could be viewed near the former site of Kinney’s Mule Barn
117—PUT THE “FUN” IN “FUNERAL” with “dearly departed” stories at the site of Cullman’s first undertaker
118—NATIVE PLANT CUTTINGS “PASS-A-LONG” and propagation techniques from the North Alabama Native Plant Society. Take home
119—EAT THESE/NOT THOSE foraging identification from the Alabama Mushroom Society
120—THE PERSONALITY OF PLACE—local photography exhibit by Frank Brower
121—CLASSICAL STORYBOOK BALLET with dancers from Brooke Desnoes Ballet Academy (Cullman Warehouse District) and the Dance4All “diversity in dance,” non-profit initiative
122—JELLO WRASSLIN’/MUD WRASSLIN’/INDIAN LEG WRASSLIN’/ARM WRASSLIN’—Come on, y’all…it’s a JOY JAUNT, we must have some good-natured wrasslin’
123—SHOW CHICKENS—Cullman is Alabama’s 1 county for poultry and eggs
124—BUSKERS—Our town nor your town may have any subways for sleeping but we have plenty of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell devotees ready to strum and sing at the drop of a coin. Austin Archer and Ace Hamilton, you budding music producers could line up talent and also perform
125—BAKING CONTEST WINNERS and TASTINGS at the local appliance dealer, Bob Wallace Appliance gets my vote for this tasty stop
126—BELLY DANCERS sponsored by TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly)
127—RENAISSANCE FAIR sword-fighting and jousting
128—KEYSTONE COPS by local comedy actors like Justin Weygand and Levi Strickland
129—OSCAR MAYER WIENERMOBILE
130—LAUGHING COW CHEESE DIP and local veggies. I’ll share my sister-in-law’s recipe for LAUGHING COW CHEESE “Put Da Lime in Da Coconut” DIP
131—SUGARBABIES tap-dancing grandmothers troupe from nearby Birmingham
132—BATON TWIRLERS FLUFF UP YOUR POM POMS and Grab Some DERVISHES
133—FREE BALLOONS by some sponsor with a helium tank
134—ZAMORA SHRINE CLUB CLOWN CARS from nearby Birmingham
135—LAUGHING GAS FILLIN’ STATION sponsored by a petrol company
136—HARLEY DAVIDSON and “FONZIE” IMPERSONATOR PHOTO station
137—CABARET PERFORMERS– in our town with a German “Kit Kat Club” vibe
138—CONGA DRUMS and CONGA LINE DANCE led by Linda Holland and the contemporary musicians of First United Methodist Church
139—JUDO WRESTLING and KARATE DEMONSTRATIONS
140—APPRECIATE SOME ART and GET FREE MUSEUM TICKETS to “Cullman Day” at the Birmingham Museum of Art
141—AFRICAN AMERICAN ARTS SALUTE by Colony Day volunteers from Colony, Alabama
142—LAKE-LIVING COMMUNITY SALUTE—ideal for Smith Lake fishing and boating enthusiasts
143—ICE-CREAM BIKE PEDALING for others by Alabama Cooperative Extension System
144—STEEL DRUMS CARIBBEAN CALYPSO MUSIC and dancers
145—HOROSCOPE OF THE DAY for your particular “sun sign”
146—GRATITUDE WALL to write something for which you are thankful.
147—HARMONICA BLUES both Appalachian Country and from the Delta
148—HULA DANCING that makes you ready for a luau
149—GO-GO CAGE DANCING from the 1960s doing The Twist, The Monkey, The Swim—any dance that has a name
150—BIERGARTEN REST STOP even if you don’t drink beer, this “outdoor picnic” area is an open-to-all, embracing, VERY GERMAN way to end your sidewalk strolling “JOY JAUNT”
S.U.N.S. (Smile-Making, Uniting, Neighboring, Spellbinding) JOY JAUNTS reflect each of four, basic elements of “The S.U.N.S. Joyous Aging System.” Many are SMILE-MAKING just seeing them like floating balloons and “Beehive” hairdos. Some are UNITING like the valentines at the former post office building. “Others-centered” NEIGHBORING is definitely joyous like stitching a community quilt or pedaling the ice cream bicycle knowing you are helping create a treat someone will enjoy after you are blocks away. Literally “stepping out of your routine” and experiencing new things like the wood-scrolling and the German paper-cutting art of Scherenschnitte is SPELLBINDING and the joyous essence of the happy, sidewalk stroll of a personalized JOY JAUNT.
JOY-GIVERS CELEBRATING A BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK
Aug. 13—Annie Oakley
Aug. 14—Steve Martin
Aug. 15—Julia Child
Aug. 17—Mae West
Aug. 17—Roberto Clemente
Aug. 18—Ogden Nash
JOY JAUNT PINE NUT POWER BARS- NEVADA
Each week, “The JOYrontologist” shares a recipe saluting a healthy food produced in America. This delicious and nutritious collection is called “The S.U.N.S. Longevity Cookbook” and highlights vitamin B-3 (niacin) which many gerontologists believe holds the promise for a long, healthy, joyful life.
- 1 1/2 cups pine nuts (8 oz.)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 3/4 cup local honey
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats, preferably thick cut
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of salt
- 4 oz. white chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. canola oil
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line the bottom and two sides with parchment paper.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the honey and sugar and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until an amber caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Sir in the oats, pine nuts, pepper and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until the pine nuts just begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for about 20 minutes, until bubbling and browned around the edges. Let the bars cool completely in the pan.
- Run the tip of a knife around the edge of the pan and lift the square from the pan. Cut the square in half, then cut each half into 6 bars. Discard the parchment paper.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate at high power at 30-second intervals, stirring in between. Stir in the oil and let cool slightly. Dip the bottom half of each oat bar into the white chocolate and set the bars on the baking sheet. Refrigerate just until the white chocolate is set. If the chocolate looks thin, dip the bars a second time.
MAKE AHEAD—The bars can be refrigerated for one week or kept at room temperature for up to three days.
1,070 JOY-GIVING THINGS FROM MY FIRST 70 YEARS (will be continued next week starting with 730)
HAPPY NEW WEEK and “JOY JAUNT!”
Read all the installments in this series at www.cullmantribune.com/tag/odes-to-joy-2022.