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Raw, Chilled Buckwheat Porridge and What It Means To Be Creative

September 25th, 2013

Raw, Chilled Buckwheat Porridge

It seems that everyone — from individuals to brands — want to be identified as ‘creative.’ Of course we also want to be smart and analytical, organized and efficient. But these are all things that bolster the creative; make him/her/it do the creative stuff more effectively and intelligently. These skills are secondary; they are learned. But the creative is innate. It cannot be learned and therefore is that much more elusive.

The problem with everyone wanting to be creative is something I’ve been kind of struggling with these days: where do you draw the line? Not to name names, but recently I’ve noticed a trend — a surge of companies essentially copying what the other is doing. Every one of them has a creative story to tell, a unique voice, a perspective you and I should care about. But the proliferation of sharing platforms makes it easy to leverage others’ creativity and call it your own. Of course there is Pinterest, but there’s also Etsy, which not only provides a platform for small makers to share their unique goods, but also a place where these ideas can be repackaged, and even effectively stolen. Ideas that others can profit from.

Raw, Chilled Buckwheat Porridge

We are a generation of intelligent consumers. We are savvy spenders. We are research-minded. We have been raised on the Internet, the discount code, the ‘customer is always right’ mentality. We buy and we buy and we return and exchange and we try on and send back and we are catered to in each and every way.

So is the new creative a collector of ideas? A puzzle builder? A refiner? A copywriter? A doer? A learner? Are we more or less creative because we can so easily share and watch ideas grow?

Raw, Chilled Buckwheat Porridge

While I absolutely look down upon people who simply take others’ ideas and call them their own, I think there is a real value to taking an idea and massaging it to be your own. In the world of cooking, creativity is a hotly debated topic. Food 52 has a great article about how to write an original recipe, and we bloggers tend to follow a common etiquette whereby we link back to our inspirations and give due credit where credit is due.

Does this mean that a recipe adaptation is not creative? Or that curation can’t be placed in the ‘creative’ bucket? I say, absolutely not. We are lucky to have as many sources of inspiration as we do — beautiful magazines, websites, restaurants, the ability to travel.

This recipe, which I adapted from the gorgeous vegetarian blog Green Kitchen Stories, is my new obsession. You see, I grew up on buckwheat groats, a staple in Russian cooking. But would I have ever guessed that they could be eaten raw? Nowadays, not only do I finely grind them in the spice grinder to make Neko’s morning cereal, but I have discovered I can soak them overnight, alongside some walnuts, grind them in a food processor with some juice, spices and vanilla extract, and have myself a nutritious breakfast that can be taken to go.

Raw, Chilled Buckwheat Porridge

Raw Buckwheat and Walnut Porridge
adapted from Green Kitchen stories
*serves four

1 cup of raw or toasted buckwheat groats
1 cup of raw walnuts
1 appled, juiced
1/2 – 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, to taste
1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

berries & honey, for topping

1. Add the buckwheat groats and nuts to two separate bowls and cover with water. Let soak overnight.
2. The next morning, drain the buckwheat groats and nuts. Add to a food processor along with the apple juice, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Puree until smooth.
3. Transfer to glass jars. To serve, top with berries and drizzle with honey, to taste. Porridge will stay in the fridge for several days.

Musical Pairings: Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You + Raw Buckwheat and Walnut Porridge

Neko Case - the worse things get album cover More on the Turntable.


  • Nicole

    What perfect timing! I just bought buckwheat groats at the store last week on a whim and have been looking into breakfast recipes. I’ll definitely be trying this soon!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    I love when that happens! They are also delicious cooked like you would cook any other grains – top with sugar, honey, berries. x

  • Nicole

    I loved reading your thoughts on this, Kasey. I have found myself contemplating what being creative means and where I fit under that umbrella. It does seem hard to trust stories from big companies that want to relate to everyone when we all know a huge marketing strategy is behind it all. Did you hear the NPR story this morning about REI changing their open return policy to a one year policy because social media had spread crazy stories of burned tents and extremely used products being returned years later?? I was just talking with my boss about how “the customer is always right,” everything on sale and these extreme return policies seem to discourage self-responsibility and I wonder what kind of customer these policies create.

    I’ve made GKS’s buckwheat porridge, too! But the one with the apples and oranges mixed in. I had no idea buckwheat groats are a Russian staple, how interesting! Yours looks beautiful with those plump raspberries!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thank you, Nicole! I did not hear that story about REI – very interesting! I feel like I’ve been seeing recycled ideas everywhere in a way I hadn’t noticed it before. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m acutely aware of the marketing spin, or just feeling a little overloaded. Either way, I think it’s refreshing to see new spins and high-quality voices rising through the ranks (both on individual sites and company blogs). And yes, buckwheat! Kasha was my favorite (it can be prepared sweet or savory). x

  • Jacqui

    Oh man, I can get myself so worked up about this topic!! And you’ve hit every point perfectly! I started to rant, then erased it because I don’t think this is the best space for that : ) But please just know, I’m so with you on this thought!

  • kickpleat

    Dude!!! So true. Stories seem to be the new commodity and it’s hard to discern what’s real, authentic and honest. There’s also so much of an overload that sorting through the chaos can be a real headache. As for your porridge, I’m not so much a fan of cold, soaked grains or oats, but maybe one day I’ll come around :)

  • kickpleat

    Oh, and it’s probably so weird to start a sentence with DUDE!! Sorry :)

  • http://www.kitchenkonfidence.com Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

    Interesting ideas here. I consider myself to be more of a recipe curator rather than a developer. I do create my own recipes, but my blog is mainly a collection of other recipes that I’ve tried or adapted. I was struggling with this at first, thinking that I had to develop each and ever recipe on my blog. But then I realized that my point of view/personality completely comes across in the recipes that I collect. And I’m ok with that now. It’s my form of creativity :)

  • Heather Christo

    So interesting Kasey. I never even considered that people rip off of etsy- that’s so bad. I guess I am incredibly naive. I always like to think that creative authenticity is easy to spot, because it is quality and just “feels right”, I tend to find that those who have to force it usually feel, well, forced? Also, this buckwheat porridge is lovely.

  • http://londonbakes.blogspot.com Kathryn

    I want to a talk by Deb of smitten kitchen last night and she said that whilst she didn’t mind writing her on recipes, what she really loved was taking someone else’s recipe and seeing how to change it and make it into something different. I thought that was a really interesting and refreshing perspective and one I could totally relate to – so good to hear your thoughts on a similar theme too!

  • Kimberley

    Brene Brown has a compelling perspective on creativity. She argues – with lots of evidence to support her claim – that we’re all born creative but we live in a culture that doesn’t foster its growth. I do think that it can be learned and cultivated later in life, because it’s tapping into something that’s already there. Regarding ownership, I also sometimes think about those humble (perhaps indentured) folks who built cathedrals way back, and did so anonymously. The concept of ownership of an idea was totally different then. We’re all inspired and influenced by other folks; it’s unavoidable. I guess the best that we can do is give credit to those whose work influenced our own. :)

  • Megan Gordon

    Oh, buckwheat! Sam actually introduced me to buckwheat; he lived in Poland for a while and had kasha a lot and makes it for me here sometimes, toasting it with a little butter or egg. I have to say — I’ve never done the groats raw and I can’t wait to try this, Kasey. I also love that you feed Neko whole grains in the morning — yesss! Hope you’re enjoying the weekend, friend.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thank you, Jacqui! I’m glad you related to this post :)

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    I understand your hesitation – what I will say about this porridge is that it isn’t very watery and on a warm day, it is the perfect, nutritious way to kick off your morning :)

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    I think you make such a good point! The effort you put into putting your own spin on others’ recipes is what makes them your own – curation is a BIG part of having a food blog, I think.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    I know! I had never thought of that before either, but have heard enough horror stories from vendors :( And I agree that true creativity can’t be faked :)

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    How interesting! I’ve always noticed that Deb’s approach to blogging is tweaking and tweaking recipes she finds. No one would not call her creative..

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    I will have to look up Brene Brown! I’m not sure if I agree that our culture doesn’t foster creativity – maybe it’s just where I live and the people I surround myself with, but I feel like everyone around me is constantly encouraging each other to be more creative. But I do agree that creativity can live deep within you and be tapped into later in life. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Kimberley!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Oh yes! Neko starts her day off usually with either cereal or eggs and some berries (her favorite). I love that you and Sam eat Kasha! I need to add it back as a staple in my diet :)

  • http://www.next-course.com/ Lindsey | The Next Course

    I think the environment you describe, Kasey, where creativity is valued, supported, and encouraged, is increasingly popular among “Millenials”, whereas previous generations have tended more towards what Kimberley describes. I love the idea that today. with the wealth of information we have at our fingertips, creativity may be shifting from “make something out of nothing” to more of an “adapt it to make it your own” approach. I’d love to keep talking about this…

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thanks for chiming in, Lindsey. I agree, Millenials demand to be more inspired by their environment, including our work. I think making something out of nothing is still relevant, but there’s less fear of trying to be creative, even if you’re the adapter type, I think.

  • http://www.aidamollenkamp.com Aida Mollenkamp

    I always have wanted to love buckwheat but haven’t ever really been convinced. Maybe this recipe is what I’ve been missing. And, yes, I share your love for Green Kitchen Stories — gorgeous work that’s so inspiring!