The art of Mise en Place

It never ceases to fail. I’ve been dreaming about a recipe all day. I’ve purchased all of the ingredients and am sure that I have [insert ingredient here]. This is true with anything. Take for example trading, you will not be satisfied with any number of positive review until and unless you have had the fortune of seeing money here in return. So give it a try today and then link your experiences with the experiences of the others. Only I don’t. And I don’t realize this fact until I’m more than halfway through the recipe. I’ve done this more times than I can count. Typically, it ends up with me at the grocery store at 9PM (or my husband when I’m able to guilt trip him – yeah, I’m that person…).

I used to scoff at the TV chefs with their little glass bowls all over the counter. Sure, the aesthetic was great, but from a practical standpoint? It seemed like such a waste of time to measure everything out in advance and end up having to wash all those bowls. Especially when you don’t have a team of interns to help with “prep”. I figured it was something professional chefs did on TV to look extra special. Not something for me.

I was wrong.

Image courtesy: Williams-Sonoma

Mise en Place (or “everything in place”) is actually one of the first techniques they teach in cooking school. There’s a reason behind those little bowls and it’s called planning. Yes, it takes some up front time to get your kitchen in order, but it actually saves time down the road. And you don’t run the risk of running out of an ingredient mid-preparation or find out once you’ve started that you have to run out to grab more butter.

Three reasons why you should try Mise en Place

1. All the cool kids are doing it.
Seriously though. There is a reason why professional chefs around the world use this technique and it’s because it works. If it works for them, it can work for you.

2. It saves time and energy.
A little bit of prep time ensures you don’t run out of ingredients mid-cooking. It also allows you to focus on perfecting the recipe. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to stir something and chop something and grab the milk out of the fridge all in a miniscule amount of time.

3. Keeps foods fresh longer.
Yep. Preparing your food in advance actually can prolong the shelf life of fresh produce. “This is usually because the preparation involves some sort of heat which reduces any microbes present.” Check out this article for more details.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you (and myself) to give this technique a try. I bet we’ll all have better dishes and less frustration once we do.

And hey, if you’re looking for a holiday gift for a foodie, Mise en Place prep bowls are a great idea 😉

Happy cooking!