By Mike Pomranz
June 22, 2017
© Radius Images / Alamy

One lucky set of parents who can prove they were the first to name their baby “Quinoa” this summer will win $10,000 in free food from BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse.  Whether you’ll consider little baby Quinoa to be lucky, well, that’s another story.

The California-based, 163-location brewpub chain announced the contest last week to help promote two new quinoa bowls that they’re adding to their menu.  You didn’t think this was out of a pure love of quinoa did you?

According to BJ’s, naming a baby after an ancient grain remains a horror, heretofore, unvisited on an American child.  “Despite the superfood’s rising popularity, BJ’s couldn’t find anyone in the U.S. named Quinoa, unlike other ‘crossover’ foods like Apple, Brie and even Kale,” the company wrote in a press release. For the record, Kale is actually a Gaelic name that means calm, Brie, is usually spelled “Bree,” which has nothing to do with the cheese and here’s the only use of Apple we know of. So perhaps we should just leave the name Quinoa where it is for the time being.

But if you do plan to enter a contest that will affect the future your child for the rest of his or her life, it’s important to read the fine print and BJ’s promotion has plenty.  First, there will only be one winner.  You also have to give birth by Labor Day.  Or finalize your adoption by Labor Day.  Yes, adopted babies named Quinoa are eligible, though you might not want to mention your naming plan when meeting the adoption agency.

Once all the entries are received, “the winner will be the entrant with a baby named ‘Quinoa’ with the earliest date and time of birth (or completion of adoption, as applicable) during the Contest Period, as compared with the dates and times of birth (or completion of adoptions, as applicable) of the babies of the other entrants,” says the official rules.  So no, this is not a random drawing.  This is a race.

But, most importantly, here’s the worst rule of all: The prize “may not be used for purchases of alcoholic beverages.”  And that, young Mason, is why your mother and I decided not to name you “Quinoa.”

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