A Brief History of Quinoa

From the upcoming Oliver Stone documentary, “The Truth About Quinoa”:

“Horace Tollman, former engineer for the US state department, revealed that quinoa was not actually a grain at all, but a genetically engineered biocrop created in the 1970s in an effort to infiltrate and destroy the Soviet wheat crops. It was never meant to be eaten…”

Okay, not really. Quinoa is not a “true” grain, as it is not the grass family. (Take that, quinoa!) But is more closely related to beets, spinach and tumbleweeds. (Now we’re getting somewhere.) It originated in the Peruvian Andes, and its name translates from the Incan as “Food which is eaten by skinny yoga students”. Quinoa is high in protein (so is pork) and is gluten free. So there you have it.

What to do with it? My friend, Paul, IM’d me one day to tell me he was doing “something with quinoa” for lunch. “Why?” I said. I guess he didn’t want gluten. I’m sure you could find some recipes for it in “Cooking with Shirley Maclaine” or “Ali MacGraw’s Favorite Yoga Creations”. (What is it with these flaky “Mac” women, anyway??)

Actually, seriously folks… I don’t really have anything against quinoa. It just sort of plays as a convenient Falstaff to my hero, pork. And its popularity with the yoga crowd makes it overly ripe for ridicule. In the interest of fairness, here’s a recipe (WARNING to skinny starlets: the following recipe contains butter.):

2 cups cooked quinoa
4 or 5 asparagus, cut diagonally into 2-inch spears
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed in a press
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

Cook the quinoa however you cook quinoa — I’ve never cooked it, so I don’t know how. I guess you probably steam it like rice. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and gently saute the asparagus for 5 minutes over medium heat. Toss in the quinoa. Remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted, toss in parmesan and serve in bowls sprinkled with Italian parsley, salt and pepper.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. paul
    Aug 22, 2010 @ 12:13:47

    Actually it was a quinoa veggie mix stuffed into a big cheap pork roast. In FLA quinoa doesn’t have the starlet/yoga cache so it is more like having a bowl of rice, but since I now know it is related to the tumbleweed I think of it more like a brother or maybe 2nd cousin, because I grew up as a tumbleworld.

    Reply

  2. Trackback: And to Think It All Began with a Pan | skinny girls & mayonnaise

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