Reprinted from The Burlington Free Press – Savorvore section 6.25.10

Written by Tom Brooks, director of Food & Beverage at The Essex Resort & Spa.

As the new director of food and beverage at The Essex Resort and Spa, I should start by quickly introducing myself.

I come to The Essex after more than 20 years as an award-winning chef and caterer at establishments across the country, including the Ritz Carlton Hotel and the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, I trained at Cordon Bleu of Paris. I look forward to sharing delicious recipes with you, with a sharp focus on local ingredients and farm-fresh options.

In keeping with this week’s Savorvore theme of sharing food and books, my thoughts immediately turn to one of my all-time favorite children’s books, A.A. Milne’s 1926 classic “Winnie the Pooh.” Generations of children (and their parents, too) have enjoyed the marvelous escapades of the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood. Remember Piglet’s failed attempts to capture the elusive Heffalump, or the “Expotition” that brave Christopher Robin led to the North Pole?

And then there was Pooh with his rumbly tummy and his arm always elbow-deep in the honey pot. Can you really blame him? Honey is a perfect natural sweetener — always excellent on toast, in tea, and drizzled over ice cream or pancakes. And where would children these days be without some honey mustard sauce to dip their chicken fingers in?

Honey was first mentioned way back in the 6th century B.C., and it quickly became popular with the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians and the Roman Empire. It later showed up in the Aztec and Mayan civilizations before spreading into the colonies in the early 17th century.

Here at The Essex, honey is a common ingredient in many Bakeshop goodies, including breads and pastries. And, yes, it’s featured prominently in our very own homemade honey mustard sauce.

To celebrate Winnie the Pooh’s favorite food, here’s a recipe for The Essex signature Honey Granola. I hope you like it.

Recipe: The Essex’s Honey Granola
1 pound rolled oats
4 ounces sesame seeds
4 ounces brown sugar
One-quarter pound walnuts
One-quarter pound almonds
6 ounces sunflower seeds
One-half cup canola oil
One-half cup honey

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Spread onto baking sheet lined with silicone mat (or a baking sheet coated with cooking spray). Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until golden and dry. Break up and store in an airtight container.

Grab a copy of “Winnie the Pooh,” and enjoy!