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Quinoa-What?

Confused about quinoa? Read on.

I just cooked some quinoa to have with my pork loin medallions and Cuban black beans. What the hell is this stuff? I think there's been a mistake. Is it supposed to taste like that? I can't swallow it. I think they left out the tasty pulpy part and sold me a bag of Japanese beetle shells. It's a bag of remnants. Are we really supposed to eat it or use it to polish quartz?

How do you pronounce it anyway? I've heard kinoo, kweenwah, keynoah, quinoya, and Keanu Reeves. This is important because I'm a trendy dude and pronouncing it correctly while pretending to enjoy eating it makes you kinda hip, like being able to defend Al Gore with a straight face. It's the Toyota Prius of side dishes. No one actually likes driving one and your friends make fun of you.

Quinoa has an interesting history. My research shows quinoa is a Castilian word meaning exoskeleton. The early Iberians would grind it up and serve it to the invading Moors to promote internal bleeding. Since nobody speaks Moorish in Spain, we see who got the last laugh.

But I gotta admit it's flavorful. It's right up there with Irish soda bread and sawdust. Yum.

I bought my bag-o-ferret-bedding at Trader Joes, you know, the store with the mushy produce. I think the employees play field hockey with the fruit before wedging it into those tiny boxes. It has a shelf life of 'eat it on the way home kids.'

I don't hate TJ's, in fact I shop there regularly. For some reason I always see cute women in the sugar-free dry ice cream section. I haven't figured out what draws them to TJ's; maybe they're looking for a sensitive guy who will also candidly admit that the 97 percent cocoa bars suck the moisture off your tongue, making it impossible to swallow, anything. Eating one of them is like having an adverse reaction to an arthritis drug, "may cause dry mouth, flatulence and bitter beer face."

The top four reasons I shop at TJ's are: to grind my own coffee, see beardy guys in Hawaiin shirts, pass on the tofurkey and listen for that Gilligan bell they ring every 14 seconds. But they have wine. Stop by TJ's in Westfield on a Friday afternoon and you'll see it flying out of there like they're bathing in it. People in my town buy cases and cases of Charles "The Swillmeister" Shaw wine, commonly known as Two Buck Chuck. It takes up the entire northeast corner of the store. It's actually pretty good, if you like your wine to taste like Robitussin. The way it works is, whenever a huge cask of wine accidentally breaks open in any winery in the US, the vintners slurp it up with a shop-vac and sell it to Chuck.

Here's a great meal for that busy loser-on-the-go who finds himself home alone on yet another Saturday night, courtesy of TJ's: organic black rice with bruised veggies and root vinegar, a side order of ground poker chips (quinoa) and imitation turkey balls, all forced down with a generous mug of two-buck turpentine. Mmmm Mmmm, them's eats!

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