The Appeal of Ch-ch-ch-chia Seeds
First thing to do when addressing the subject of chia, is to appropriately address the idiomatic elephant in the room. Chia seeds, while enormously nutritious and hearty in their own right, are much more widely recognized as the raw ingredient for the novelty Chia Pet. For those of you who missed this chapter in American pop culture, the illustrious Chia Pet was a phenomenon in the 1980s and was simply an animal-shaped terracotta figurine used to sprout chia seeds. The novelty aspect was the chia would cover the animal in a lush green shag that resembled fur and people could not get enough of Chia Pets (the 80s were a decidedly anemic time for culture in America).
Fast forward to the present and we have the chia seed resurfacing as an ingredient, nutritional supplement and relative super food. Now to be clear, this is not a pet. It is simply chia seeds for your eating pleasure. However, eating chia is less about pleasure and more about nourishment and wellbeing. This is not to say that they are at all unpleasant tasting; in fact they are quite neutral and mild in flavor. While they lack the buttery appeal of flax seeds, these poppy seed sized seeds are small, black and enormously good for you. But the appeal of chia seeds is that they are outrageously good for you (at least that is what we are told). Chia seeds are purported to do everything from help with flagging energy levels to keep you fiber-rich and lean.
Various chia-friendly recipes and suggestions I found encourages the uninitiated to sprinkle them on hot cereal or eat them out of the bag (not my idea of profound fun, but no judgment) but I think they make a great addition to baked goods (cakes, muffins, and even pancakes). Some of the selling points for these chia seeds are the fact that are outrageously high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids, a great source of antioxidants, fiber, and is helpful to regulate digestion. While they may not have the appeal (nor the psychoactive qualities) of poppy seeds, chia seeds can be a fun alternative to the poppy/sesame seed ghetto, and worst case scenario, if they are really unpalatable, you could always form them into a paste, spread them on a piece of earthenware and watch them sprout.