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written by Sam Greenspan

Boxes of Quisp.

Much like Rosie Perez in White Men Can’t Jump, I too enjoy learning foods that start with Q.

In honor of Rosie Perez…

11 quirky foods that start with Q

This post was originally published last July 2008. I may have included something here that looks post apocalyptic. If the time traveller moved the chair a little bit more, number 11 could be spot on.

So here are 11 foods that begin with Q. They’re not the most quintessential cuisine, but they’re worth a try.

1 | Quesadilla

I really do like a good quesadilla. I actually prefer them thin to thick. With thick quesadillas, you feel like you’re eating a cheese wheel wrapped in a tortilla.

Quesadillas are also a great option for a quick and easy meal, as you can prepare them in just a few minutes. When it comes to fillings, the options for quesadillas are endless.

2 | Quark

To a nerd like me, Quark is short for Quark XPress, the sort-of-popular desktop publishing software. To a bigger nerd than me, a quark is a generic physical subatomic particle. Are we going microscopic here?

To a bigger nerd than that, Quark is the name of a character with giant round ears on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And to the biggest nerd of all, quark is a type of soft cheese that has a texture somewhere between cottage cheese and ricotta.

3 | Quiche

Pronounced as keesh.

Quiche is a savory dish consisting of a pastry crust filled with eggs, milk or cream, and various ingredients such as cheese, vegetables, and meat. It is usually baked in the oven and served hot, and can be eaten as a main course or as a part of a brunch or breakfast spread.

I’m surprised this is a stereotypically gay food, as all of my gay friends are smart enough not to poison themselves with a deep-dish pastry filled with heavy cream and egg yolks. Just a horrible job by the international stereotyping department on that one.

Quiche sliced like a pizza.

4 | Quail

Quail isn’t that good, it’s really gamey and one bird doesn’t even really yield enough meat for one person’s dinner. Therefore, I believe this only became a food because hunters love shooting quails so much that they needed some kind of bullshit justification.

5 | Quahog

Pronounced as kow · haag.

Quahogs are a type of hard-shelled clam that you can find along the Atlantic coast of North America. They are known for their sweet, briny flavor and are often used in New England-style dishes such as clam chowder, clam cakes, and stuffed quahogs.

Everyone knows this word now, thanks to Family Guy. A quahog is a type of clam. I love steamed clams. (And steamed hams.)

And no, quahogs don’t speak or talk.

6 | Quince

A quince is a fruit that looks kind of like a pear. According to the Jeopardy! scene of White Men Can’t Jump… aka the inspiration for this list… in the Garden of Eden, the forbidden fruit that Adam and Eve ate was actually a quince, not an apple

This may or may not be true, but really doesn’t seem worth arguing about, because, like every Biblical debate, the actual Bible text says something completely generic and innocuous and then thousands of people read and interpret and misinterpret and fight over what that really means.

For example, I looked it up: In this case, the Bible never described it as anything but “fruit.” Now let’s argue about what that means for the next 500 years!

Three yellow Quinces. One of those fruits that start with Q.

7 | Queso

I really enjoy dipping chips in queso, although I know four people who got food poisoning from four different restaurants’ queso dips, thus giving it one of the highest scarcity-to-potential-for-poisoning ratios of any food I can think of.

8 | Quisp Cereal

I’ve never had it, but the bastion of reliability known as Wikipedia describes it as “a saucer-shaped, baked paste of corn meal and syrup.” Sounds awesome.

[Addendum, 7/30/08. My friend Ryan send me this info on Quisp after reading this: “Quisp is/was awesome… It tasted like Captain Crunch, basically. But they were shaped like saucers, so you could get a little bit of milk in the cereal bits. Brilliant. The only disconcerting thing about Quisp is that they always had space trivia on the back, and the answers were horribly outdated. Like, the correct answer for ‘How many moons does Jupiter have?’ would be one. Sort of made you wonder.”]

9 | Quinine

Quinine is a bitter alkaloid that that comes from the bark of the cinchona tree. We originally used this as a medicine to treat malaria. Today, many businesses use this as a flavoring that makes tonic water taste like tonic water.

Interesting fact: I don’t think I’ve ever had a sip of tonic water without either gin or vodka mixed in. And, in a brief informal survey of the six people I just talked to, none of them had either. 

Do people actually buy tonic water to just sip at home, or is it one of those things that only now exists as a mixer, like grenadine?

Blooming flowers of Quinine Tree.

10 | Quaaludes-N-Cream

Serve it at your next orgy! Simply take some vanilla ice cream and mix in at least two bottles of quaaludes which is, by the way, one of the least addictive drugs on earth

Serve alone, or as the “a la mode” compliment to some Strawberry Rhubarbituate pie. (Yes, I was way too proud of myself for coming up with that bit of hilarious wordplay.)

11 | Quarantined Humans

Of all the foods that start with Q or any letter, this one really aged nearly well.

If you’re ever in a post-apocalyptic scenario where 98 percent of the human race is quarantined with a virus that’s spreading at unprecedented rates (for an example, see any science fiction movie in the past five years), and you survive, after a few months, feel free to convert to cannibalism and just go to town on quarantined humans.

Make sure to broil them good though, ya know, to kill any strains of that virus.

I mean, we nearly went into an apocalyptic scenario when COVID-19 struck and more than half of the world’s population went into lockdown. If a time traveler unknowingly decides to move a chair, we could probably have zombies roaming around us.