Keen on Quinoa

Last year, before my two youngest children declared themselves, pescatarians, I had hardly heard of this grain let alone that it was a grain and that it was pronounced ‘keen – wa’ and not ‘kwin-noah’ (leading some to believe that it was what sustained the Ark passengers). Ironically, 2013 was the International Year of Quinoa (thank you, Wikapedia), so it seems fitting that I’ve continuously had one or two bags of the stuff in my pantry beginning with that banner year for a grain. What is it this year – let me guess – lentils? Anyhow, I’ve noticed that ‘thousands’ appropriately play into associations with what nutritionists call a ‘super food’ (conjuring up the image in my mind of a broad-kernaled caped being striding into my kitchen declaring, ‘have no fear, Mom of the Millenium, quinoa is here to replace your neat-centered comfort foods with healthy main dishes that look like sand-covered mixed vegetables” but I digress). Quinoa is grown 12,000 feet above sea level in the Andes (thank you ‘truRoots’). Wow! That’s higher than Denver, CO where I distinctly remember my pescatarian daughter developing altitude sickness yet she can inhale bowls of this stuff without an ill effect. Ironically, she thrives on a grain that she couldn’t cultivate herself without vomiting! Speaking of cultivation, quinoa was first cultivated 3,000 – 4,000 years ago in the Andes (which happens to be my daughter’s favorite mint – coincidence?) yet it’s consumption did not increase dramatically until this Millenium. Seems to me, it’s my destiny to spend thousands making thousands of pounds of quinoa-centric dinners containing thousands upon thousands of particles of this smaller-than-rice staple.

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