Oh, but wait. I could do a recipe challenge my own darn self, yes? I could… learn to make new foods! That totally fits, allows me to do what I wanted to do, and yet doesn’t trap the whole five of us in a place where we have to eat lizards on sticks.
Wait. Where are you going?? I don’t really plan to eat lizards, on sticks or otherwise. I promise.
And the truth is that I am a pretty adventuresome eater, already, and consider myself a decent amateur cook. This wasn’t a matter of, like… wanting to go beyond ramen noodles, or anything. I just would like to cook a few foods I’ve not yet tried or mastered.
That would not just be learning, it would be… delicious. I hoped.
I spent a few days trying to figure out what I wanted to try. And then I went to Kira, because Kira is wise in the ways of deliciousness.
“Can you believe I have never, ever eaten quinoa?” I asked her.
Kira may have gasped. “Quinoa is delicious!” she said. “And it’s so, so good for you! Get the red kind. The red is the best.”
This made me feel a little nervous, because I had no idea it came in different colors. But it does! And Kira said to get the red, so I did. My regular grocery store didn’t have it, but I found it at the other store, and I brought it home feeling hopeful.After poking around various recipes, I decided to try it in my friend Karen’s vegetarian chili.
It turns out that the quinoa is terribly difficult to cook; I dumped it into the crock as directed with the rest of the chili. it sort of felt like cheating, but hey, I was following the recipe!
I put the chili on the table that night and both children peered into their bowls and said, “What is it?”
“It’s veggie chili with quinoa,” I said. Now, my daughter likes my existing veggie chili recipe just fine, but my son isn’t crazy about it. So I figured it was time to leverage this experiment. “Quinoa is a lot like rice, which you love“—here I made meaningful eyebrows at my son—”so I think you’ll like this a lot more than our regular veggie chili.”
He remained unconvinced. He peered into his bowl again.
My daughter took a bite. “This is delicious!” she said. She looked at her bowl. “It kind of looks like toenails, though. Tiny toenails.”
“Yes,” I said, “I made you TOENAILS for dinner.”
“Leprechaun toenails?” asked my husband. “It’s not St. Patrick’s Day….”
Somewhere in the ensuing giggling, my son took a bite. And declared it “okay.”
We grownups thought it was great. Chewy and nutty and filling, and it didn’t leave me with that carby-coma rice can sometimes induce. I am keen on quinoa! (Yes, I said it.)
I feel very silly for never having had it before. But now I know.