My tongue is sad

I’d like to think that everyone gets as excited as I do about the joy of food. Although I certainly enjoy how a meal can bring people together (I’m thinking about the many Christmases and birthdays in my household specifically), much of my love of food stems from eating it. I love the colours, flavours, smells and textures that food in any state can create. But every once in a while I come across a food that fails to generate that euphoria, and boy – doesn’t it just make my tongue sad!

One such occasion was a recent dinner at home (we’re coming into the festive season people – belts must be tightened!). I like to cook, and I also like to experiment. This is usually a success, and with that in mind I didn’t think I could go wrong. That is until I tried quinoa (pronounced keen-wah apparently).

Honestly, I don’t care how it’s pronounced, this stuff is blargh, yuck and ew! And it ruined my otherwise delicious meal.

For those who are unacquainted with the food that is quinoa, it is a South American grain regarded for its great nutritional value. It has a protein content of between 12 and 18 percent, which is really high, and it is also a good source of magnesium and iron; vegetarians rejoice. Plus, unlike other grains – wheat or rice, for example – quinoa is considered to be a complete protein source. So far, sounds good right? Hmmm…

According to my pre-packaged quinoa, it had already been pre-rinsed for my convenience, so all I had to do was give it a brief rinse before I followed the rest of the cooking instructions. These were as follows: Bring two cups of water to the boil with one cup of quinoa, cover and lower to a simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the germ separates from the seed, which you can tell occurs when a tiny curl appears. Once all that had happened I was looking forward to a ‘light and fluffy texture (like couscous), with a mild, slightly nutty flavour’.

That is NOT what I got! No, what I got was something that tasted like wet bird seed, had the consistency of lumpy potato mash, and could be used as glue for papier-mache. I imagine it would have also been useful as a replacement for Selleys No More Gaps, should one have required such a product.

No amount of flavour enhancement seemed to work, and I tried salt and pepper, butter and – out of sheer desperation to rid my mouth of the taste of cardboard – Worcestershire sauce. It was utterly disappointing, and I found myself offering all sorts in the way of apologies for serving what I had been informed was a ‘food group’.

I have been told that quinoa is actually edible, but I want to know how. If someone could provide me with a tried and tested recipe (and perhaps cook it and serve it to me) as proof that this stuff is the ‘real deal’ then I would be willing to give quinoa a second chance. But right now, I’m looking for builders want to add a ‘special something ‘ to their concrete mix.



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