Recently, I’ve been engaged with other educators around the country through conversations on Twitter and Voxer about white space. There are many interpretations and applications for white space but for me it is time to slow down, reflect, learn, process, explore passions, and connect with myself.
Cooking for me is white space time. I get to explore a passion, focus, be creative, think, reflect, slow down, try new things, and learn new things.
Because of a busy October (travel to Washington DC, Halloween, and other commitments), I have been out of the kitchen for a few weeks and I missed that. It’s still comfort food season here in Minnesota and I saw a recipe in the StarTribune Taste section that sounded delicious. I was intrigued enough to make Smoky Peanut Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup. I took the chance to try something new, use a cooking tip I recently received, and take time for myself to engage in one of my passions.
A few weeks ago I happened upon Knife Fest at a local shopping center. At one station I talked with a chef who was chopping butternut squash. He was using a knife I own and I explained how difficult It was for me to peel and chop the squash. He gave me some great tips: cut off the top and bottom of the squash; poke holes in it with a fork; and microwave it for three minutes. He said that after it cooled it would be easy to peel, cut, scoop out the seeds, and chop into cubes. He was right!
I got to use those tips with this recipe and they worked! The recipe was ingredient heavy but easy. I already had everything in my pantry and refrigerator except for the chicken, onions, butternut squash, and canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. Another time saving tip is to buy a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store.
Whoa! Did I ever learn a valuable lesson in how important it is to read recipes carefully. 1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce does not equal 1 to 2 cans of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. By not reading the recipe carefully, I made the soup eight times hotter than the recipe suggests. Good thing Kip loves spicy food, he thought it was delicious. For me, I served mine over rice to temper the heat. I’m going to make this soup again next weekend and use the correct amount of canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce!
White space is important for me to clear my head, rejuvenate, engage in some learning, think, reflect, and give myself time. I do that through long walks, bike rides, listening to music, and cooking. It’s a bonus for me that during my white space cooking time I get to try new things, build my confidence, reflect, think, learn, and create something delicious.
How do you create white space for yourself?