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Quinoa awareness....

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I was reading a mystery last night which bounces between the early '60's and the late '80's. The locale is a fictitious coastal town in California. One character was discussing her son's hippy girlfriends' diet and mentioned quinoa (chapter based in 1963). Which got me thinking...

I've worked with "health foods" since my volunteer days at food co-ops in the mid '70's. I don't think I heard of quinoa until the late '80's (read a brief mention of it in a travelers report of S. America) and don't recall seeing it available until the 2000's.

Maybe I just didn't notice it...the dry goods weren't my area of specialization. I've always lived on the east coast. Many "new" foods are introduced in Ca. several years before distribution channels are established in the east.

Would quinoa have been accessible in California in '63? When/how did you first become aware of it?

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  1. I believe that it was not brought to the US till 1982 by the Quinoa Corp.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chefj

      Thank you - I can't find anything earlier. Good detective work!

    2. I'm in California
      My sister lives in Ohio and sent me some quinoa which I had never heard of and she said
      she purchased it in a health food store.
      Now when I go grocery shopping I see it on the shelves and had never paid attention to it.
      I'm sure it's been a staple for many people in California.
      It is from Peru I think. The Inca grew it and it's great sourse of protein if you're a vegetarian.
      I cook it like rice.

      1. I never heard if it until the mid-90s. Brown rice, barley, and such would have been more prominent.

        1. I don't think I had heard of it until the middle of the last decade. 63 sounds anachronistic.

          1. I remember reading about Quinoa and Amaranth in Organic Gardener in the early 70's.

            Just because it wasn't sold in grocery stores doesn't mean hippies weren't growing it. : )

            1 Reply
            1. While I've heard about it for a number of years, I was only recently tempted to try it now that most companies sell it pre-rinsed (in it's original state it can be amazingly soapy/bitter if not thoroughly rinsed first). Unless you buy from a bulk bin, any package will tell you if the quinoa needs rinsing before cooking.

              That said, I LOVE it. Find it to be a wonderful, more nutritious, & nuttier-tasting substitute for couscous.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bacardi1

                I lived behind (and purchased from) a health food store in SF in the late 70's, I am the curious type but do not recall seeing it there at that time. I have been meaning to try it one one these days...