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Glancing at this easy quinoa salad recipe, I remembered Sandy, my former coworker from 15 years ago; the person who gave me this recipe. And for a brief moment, I was transported back to that little lunch room at Carewest Glenmore Park, where Sandy and I worked together all those years ago. Where, for a flash in time, we shared not only our lunch breaks and our recipes, but also our lives.
People come in and out of our lives through work, ages and stages, kids and also for what I believe to be a reason or a season. Sadly, it’s easy to forget them. So, remembering them is really nice. And for me, I often remember them through recipes. So, when I think back to that time, that time before the internet became one giant, soulless cookbook, I have to wonder if we’ve lost something.
When I reflect back on the many hours I sat at my mother-in-law’s round, wooden kitchen table, copying recipes off her recipe cards onto little sheets of paper, I have to admit that I don’t miss that in the least. But what I do miss is the connection to the person through the recipe. As I flipped through the few binders I have left, that still house all my stained and scribbled upon scraps of paper and recipe cards (many of them etched in my mother-in-law’s hand writing) in search of this quinoa salad recipe, I couldn’t help but think about my mother-in-law, Jean. She has been gone since 2009, but there’s just something so special about seeing her handwriting on a recipe that came from her. It’s like I still have a part of her with me and that recipe has a story. These days I rarely get a recipe from an actual person, especially not one that’s written on paper or a recipe card.
Quinoa is gluten-free AND healthy:
This Easy Vegan Quinoa salad is actually a Moroccan variation on Tabouli, which is Lebanese in origin. The original recipe that Sandy gave me was made with couscous. I changed it to quinoa because well, quinoa is better for you.
Although couscous looks healthy, it’s really a simple carb with a nutritional value similar to white pasta. Where as quinoa is not only gluten-free, it’s a complete source of protein, has more nutrients and double the fibre of couscous. Couscous is a little faster to make (5 minutes, as opposed to 15) but you can still make this salad in under 30 minutes. If you want to read more about the healthy benefits of quinoa vs couscous, click HERE!
Just get to the recipe:
Recently, a really silly debate has surfaced in internet land. It goes something like this: recipe seeker calls out food blogger, who is writing stories around his/her recipes, because according to recipe seeker, no one gives a crap about food blogger’s stories or their life -they just want food blogger to get to the bloody recipe!
Blogger’s response: That’s why there’s a “Jump to recipe” feature on so many blogs (and that’s why I added it). OR here’s a novel idea- if you don’t want to read the story, just scroll to the recipe. But apparently, recipe seeker is afraid to do that, because they may miss something important about the recipe in the post! Better yet then, says blogger, “just go away, recipe seeker – go to allrecipes.com and then you don’t have to worry about the stories that bother you so much.”
So, why do food bloggers write stories? I’m guessing it’s because they like to write. And if they didn’t like to write, they probably wouldn’t bother with a food blog. And people really do like to read stories! It’s true -stories help them relate and feel connected.
But I wonder….
Perhaps food blogging is an unconscious attempt to fill that void and bring back some of the soul that missing from this enormous and uninspired online cookbook.
I recently read a post about clam chowder that was written by my fellow food blogger, Redawna. And before I knew it I was blubbering all over the place, like serious snot and tears blubbering. Her post was about clam chowder, but it was also about her Uncle Marc, who had recently passed away. But to my heart, it was about my Uncle Leonard, who’d also recently passed away.
I’ve never met Redawna in person; I only know her virtually, through my connection with Food Bloggers of Canada. But I related to her story and to her as a human being; her grief and her good memories. And her story made me feel connected…. to something bigger, I guess. And when I make that clam chowder one day, I’m going to remember my uncle Leonard. But I’m also going to remember Redawna and her story about her Uncle Marc, as well as this time in my life as a food blogger and that virtual connection we shared. I will remember it in the same way that I remember Sandy, through her recipe for quinoa salad and that flash in time we also shared as coworkers and friends at Glenmore Park. Had I pulled that recipe off allrecipes.com, it would be completely void of meaning.
We have lost something:
Yes, I believe that we have lost something. But I don’t think it’s all bad. Things change and we have to evolve. Although I will keep many of my special recipe cards, like most people, I’m quite happy to ditch the paper. I have transferred the majority of my recipes to computer files and this blog. But it’s those recipes that I get from other food bloggers, bloggers who share their stories, that are filling that void. Because those recipes have stories and it’s those stories that give them meaning, I’ll remember them. Because it’s nice to remember people.
How fun are these?!
Easy Quinoa salad (vegan and gluten-free)
- Cook Quinoa as directed on box. While quinoa is cooking, chop cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and herbs.
- Put quinoa in bowl and add olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and herbs. Stir in cucumber, tomato, onion and herbs. Serve or chill for 30 minutes and serve.