Mar 12, 2008

The Quinoa Challenge

There was plenty of time to share stories during our chilly Sunday stroll from the toucan inhabited cemetery spires of Greenwood Cemetery towards the DELICIOUS clutches of Franny’s Potato Croquettes. As EB and I crossed the magical and ever moving border between South Slope and Park Slope I decided to share a tale of vain admittance. A few weekends back a group of us sat in a Williamsburg brunchery pondering the age old question of sweet versus savory. The inconsequentiality of my decision gave birth to a pitiful plan of personal praise. Since everything appeared equally appetizing I would order the Quinoa Crusted Chicken simply so that the waitress would recognize how smart and cultured I was to know its proper pronunciation. The sound of EB’s incredulous laughter interrupted my story. “A LOT of people know how to pronounce that word,” she jokingly commented. Though my memory of the waitress’s blank stare affirmed her assertion I staunchly stood my ground and disagreed. In order to accurately gauge my friend’s estimation of quinoa awareness I retorted with this hypothetical scenario: “If you stood on the corner 5th avenue and 57th street in Manhattan on a Saturday afternoon and asked 100 people to read a sentence with the word 'quinoa' in it, how many would pronounce it correctly?”

In a suprisingly confident voice she answered "50."

Do you agree that 50 or more people would successfully pronounce quinoa in the context outlined above? Well, if you do and would like to wager a consequential deed or asset on its outcome please contact me with your proposal. If I find your proposal suitable we’ll begin working out the logistics for administering The Quinoa Challenge.


Rachel said...

I think less than 10% would know how to say it. I don't however, have anything to wager.

Modestmerlin said...

R -

It's nice to know that my food pronunciation suspicions are being confirmed by such a food authority. Given that we are of a similar opinion a wager would be quite impossible!

leenabean said...

50 is insane. I would guess that 2 people out of 100 would know the correct pronunciation. And I would def put down money.

hos before bros said...

I just asked four people in my office how to pronounce it. And all four got it right. I wonder, though, if the kind of restaurant to have quinoa on the menu would also be more likely to attract a clientele who would know the correct pronunciation. Thus, your waitress would not have been particularly impressed by your knowledge. However, a random corner in midtown is a different story.

Modestmerlin said...

V -

There are certainly places that will attract a higher concentration of those familiar with such progressive proteins. Grocery co-ops in Ithaca, NY for example. But I would argue that the carnivorous population at large has no idea what this grain is, let alone how to pronounce it.

Modestmerlin said...

L -

2 out of 100 is probably on the low side. I'd probably make the market 20 @ 25 for the specific context I outlined in the story.

Unknown said...

I'm short 50 people for size. Say $100?

kamikazechickadee said...

I'm not a gambler, but I maintain my position. Might I remind you about the HOMELESS MAN who rejected my Whole Foods leftovers because he (both recognizing and pronouncing it correctly) "can't eat quinoa or amaranth or any of that stuff"? Knowledge of organic protein-rich grains is not limited to the upper-class brunching elite.

Modestmerlin said...

K -

Amaranth? Wasn't it aniseed? Either way the whole thing is just silly!

Thanks for the spell check.

Oh, you're still pretty wrong on this one. I'll prove it to you one day, you'll see.