Crapola! hits Cub

Continuing to defy the "few people who are persistently offended" by a granola named Crapola!, the home businesss in Ely, Minn., now has placed its product in Cub Foods stores, a big addition to its presence in food co-ops, specialty stores and Lunds, Byerly's and Kowalski's stores. "In 2007, we were just a table at a farmers market on Tuesdays, selling a couple of dozen bags," said Brian Strom who, with spouse Andrea, heads Brainstorm Bakery in Ely.

Today, they make "hundreds of pounds" of granola each day in their 500-square-foot facility, with some seasonal help. Their growth has been careful. "We would say no to a lot of opportunities in the beginning, figuring it would kill us, or it wouldn't fit the lifestyle we wanted," he said. "We've grown up a lot, learning how to run a business by running this business."

The Crapola! name comes from cranberry-apple granola, and Strom contends he thought "that would click with everyone." Still, he added, "if we'd called it any other name, we wouldn't be where we are right now."

Other products are Number Two, a gluten-free cranberry-orange granola, and Red, White and Blueberry granola with dried raspberries and blueberries. A fourth granola flavor will debut sometime this year. For details, or to order online, visit

Alton Brown to make a splash

Alton Brown, recently named "best food TV personality" at the Munchies food awards (who knew?) comes to the State Theatre Feb. 7 with a show that melds stand-up comedy, a multimedia lecture, live music (he sings?), food experimentation and more. Currently the host of the Food Network game show "Cutthroat Kitchen," Brown bills his "Edible Inevitable Tour" as family entertainment with "extreme" food fun. Tellingly, ponchos will be provided for fans in the first few rows. Tickets range from $44 to $79. To order, visit

Cooking smarter in 2014

2013 may be remembered for many reasons, but one may be the idea that we can make potato chips in our microwave ovens. The technique was among the top 10 best cooking tips that emerged from the topic boards on Other hot topics included making the ideal mac'n'cheese, how to keep cheesecake from being soggy, grainy or cracked, whether to pan-fry or bake meatballs before adding them to spaghetti sauce, and making the perfect shrimp cocktail. For the whole list and links to more, visit

Riedel goes better with Coke?

If this were Downton Abbey, the following news might give head butler (and defender of hoary tradition) Mr. Carson an ulcer. Riedel Crystal, which made its international reputation by creating wine glass shapes and sizes that enhance a wine, has made a glass for Coca-Cola. You know, Coke. The soda pop maker asked the 10th-generation crystal company to develop a glass that, according to a press release, "elaborates and enhances the intimate flavors of Coke." Oh, there were focus groups and taste tests and expert testimony. The result is a curvy glass inspired by the original Coca-Cola "Contour" bottle. A 17-ounce glass is $19.90 through www.riedel­, or you can get a set of two for $24.99 from its exclusive retail distributor, Bed, Bath and Beyond. No word yet on whether the glass will join its crystal brethren in the Museum of Modern Art.