Mise en place [MEEZ ahn plahs] Is a French term referring to having all the ingredients necessary for a dish prepared and ready to combine up to the point of cooking. Organizing and completing in advance all the preliminary steps required in a specific preparation.
When you’re watching your favorite cooking show (and if you’re reading this blog, you watch cooking shows – what’s yours?)… you will see them use all these lovely little “prep bowls“. Whether it’s The Barefoot Contessa (who I learn the most from), Rachel Ray (who I constantly get compared to), Giada de Laurentiis (who I would rather be compared to), Bobby Flay (I dare you to come ‘throw down’ on my curry hummus), Jamie Oliver (who’s saving our schools from childhood obesity) or my personal favorite – the beautiful Curtis Stone (hey, he’s not just a pretty face…I’ve learned plenty from him!)… they all have some form of organizational prep before launching into the cooking part of the segment. Chopping onions, garlic and fresh herbs.. placing them into their own little bowls. Having a pinch bowl of sea salt handy… just the right amount of dry seasoning all pre-measured into their own tiny bowls. I’m sure dishwashers across America are cringing.
I always thought they did all that prep for the ease and time constraints of a 30 minute television show. But then my friend Tracey gave me a set of little prep bowls… and I had to try it for myself. WOW! I love this! 1) - it keeps me organized on complicated dishes. How many times have I forgotten a key ingredient because I didn’t remember if I put it in there or not? And B) – it keeps me from burning or overcooking the onions or garlic because I got busy chopping the veggies and didn’t watch the pot.
Yea, it happens.
So my fellow culinary adventure-ers… remember this lovely phrase, “Mise en place”. For someone like me whose mantra is “There’s a place for everything and everything is in its place”… this is music to my ears. “Mise en Place”. Ahhh… sing it with me…
Also, for additional food prep ease, check out this handy-dandy little item below. I picked it up in a quaint kitchen store in Myrtle Beach recently. It. Changed. My. Life. Okay that’s a slight exaggeration… I’m not really a full-on gadget-geek but this is a wondrous invention! It’s a little scrap-catcher… no more dragging the big kitchen trash can over or making a mess of your counter tops… just swipe the scraps off the cutting board! (Info-mercial royalties would be nice here).
Happy prepping friends!
Mise en place,