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The unexpected lesson in a head of cauliflower

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

It was my turn to make supper last evening. I decided to steam a head of cauliflower, something I've done many times before. I began preparing it as I've usually done: I cut off the leaves, trimmed the edges off the stem, and washed everything. But then a question popped in my head: are cauliflower leaves edible? I asked my wife. She wasn't sure. So, I did what most anyone does these days: I Googled it...and quickly learned that, indeed, cauliflower leaves are edible. So, I took the leaves I had set aside, washed them, and made a small salad of them on each of our plates (along with red & yellow pepper strips, golden raisins, cherry tomatoes, and walnuts). Next to the salad, I served up the steamed cauliflower head with a sour cream, cheese, and milk sauce. My wife and I both found the salad rather tasty and a nice compliment to the main course. As we were eating, I said, "Think of what we've been missing out on - what we've been wasting - for years."

And why was it that we had gone decades without ever eating cauliflower greens? Simply because I continued to do what I had always seen done: I clipped off the leaves and threw them away. What changed last evening? I dared to ask a question I had never asked before. It was a simple question, but one which wound up being powerful enough to change my habits.

This is the way it goes with hidden assumptions. We do what we've always done because we assume we know what we're doing. But even the simplest of hidden assumptions can deprive us of all sorts of things: knowledge, pleasure, friendship, or even productivity. Rooting out our hidden assumptions is a task we need to intentionally pursue. It doesn't naturally happen. And how do we do this? By asking questions - new questions, targeted questions that we haven't asked before. They can be as varied as "What am I assuming here?" or "What do I see in this situation I haven't noticed before?" or "What could I do differently this time around?" There are no right or wrong answers to these sorts of questions, just new avenues to explore, and sometimes, even new tastes to enjoy!

"Rooting out our hidden assumptions is a task we need to intentionally pursue. It doesn't naturally happen."

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