Because of it's nutritional value and adaptability to harsh climates (cold, sere, high altitudes), and because it is a traditional smallholder crop, quinoa is being promoted as a contributor to solving global hunger. The indigenous people of the Andes are to be thanked for developing and maintaining so many strains of quinoa over the last 7000 years, and now for sharing their traditions with the world's peoples.
Quinoa is not, as some people refer to it, a grain, though it has similar uses. It is a member of the family Amaranthaceae, genus Chenopodium. A related common edible weed (lamb's quarters or pigweed) grows around here, and a few other relatives are grown in gardens as hot weather spinach substitutes.
If my culinary Spanish were only a little better, I'd be trying a few items from this traditional Andean cookbook:
Which leads me to say, I now know what inspired the incredibly bright colors of chullos (Andean earflap hats). It's the colors of their local quinoa and potatoes!
And finally, why Mr. Google, do you not have "quinoa" in your spell checker?
I know I saw a recipe for it in your employee dining room cookbook.