Sunday, March 6, 2011

Red Quinoa Salad: A Taste of the Rainbow

There's a few images that stick out in my head when I think of my childhood dining habits and food preferences.

One is of my mom staring at me in horror upon discovering that I'd inhaled nearly half of the five-pound bag of gummy bears she'd attempted to hide from me.

Another is of the Doritos Nacho Cheese potato chip sandwiches I regularly made by flattening slices of Wonder Bread around heaps of the freakishly orange chips for an after school "snack." When I was 12.

And the last is of me shoving fistfuls of Skittles into my mouth and shellacking all the candies together into a thick, sticky mass of sugary goo.

Apparently, I really really wanted to "Taste the Rainbow."

Given my appalling juvenile snacking history, it's shocking that I can even identify a vegetable, fruit or whole grain now. While I still possess a massive sweet tooth and have an entire drawer devoted to chocolate at work, my diet looks completely different today (and not just because I don't know where to find Wonder Bread anymore).

As an adult, I've become practically obsessive about making sure I'm eating plenty of the healthy foods I mostly ignored as a Skittle-sucking youngster to help balance out my dining out indulgences and to keep my energy level high. The crisper bins in my fridge are perpetually overflowing with kale, carrots, apples, oranges, cauliflower, red peppers, and anything I can get my hands on at my local farmer's market on Sunday. It's hard for me to even fathom eating a meal without at least one fruit or vegetable, and most days I eat at least three to four servings of each.

Clearly I possess an entirely different perspective of what it means to "Taste the Rainbow" today.

This month, in honor of National Nutrition Month, the TasteSpotting Blog will be paying similar tribute to that rainbow with the "Eating Rainbow" series -- kind of like the "Reading Rainbow" except with food instead of books (paper doesn't taste nearly as good as an adult as it does in preschool). Each week a different color of the rainbow will be featured, and, in typical obsessive TasteSpotting fashion (food is kind of a big deal over there), each day a different food item within that spectrum of the rainbow will get its moment to shine.

Today, red quinoa is having its moment. Which, of course, means that I -- the quinoa queen -- am kind of having my moment too. ::::Fanning face so I don't start crying::::

This red quinoa salad with apples, walnuts, dried cranberries, and Gouda is how the adult me tastes the rainbow. I think it's a vast improvement on that thick, sticky mass of sugary goo I used to mash into my mouth as an 8-year-old, but if I'm going to be completely honest, I still can't help heaving all the little tasty bits into my mouth. Apparently, some habits die harder than others. Fortunately, if I keep eating the rainbow through salads like this one, I should have plenty of time to work on it.


sarah j. gim said...

all hail the Queen-oa! :)

What's Cookin Stacey?? said...

Your post made me laugh. I still love a sandwich of cheese, mayo and Doritos. But it is on homemade whole wheat bread. Love your blog!!!!

Ashley said...

Think this is better as a side dish or main course? I'm wondering if it would be filling enough for me on its own.

Anna A. said...

Ahha oh I love this TALF. AND Doirrito sammies?! Wow!

Monet said...

Isn't quinoa great? I had a phase in middle school where I ate so much junk. I'm glad that it was just a phase...because I love me some whole grains! Thank you for sharing your words and salad tonight. I'm drooling. I hope you have a beautiful day tomorrow. Happy Hump Day!