Mid Week Philosophy: MISE EN PLACE
Mise en place, a French term referring to having all the ingredients necessary for a dish prepared and ready to combine up to the point of cooking (© Copyright Barron’s Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER’S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst).
I try to use this technique whenever I bake or cook. For baking, I separate each ingredient into a smaller bowl and then check each ingredient against the recipe before I start putting them into the mixing bowl. I find it particularly useful when I am baking, because baking tends to be more precise. I just saved myself the other day: sometimes I don’t put on my reading glasses when I am going through the recipe (shame on me) and instead of reading 1-3/4 cups of flour, I read 1-1/2 cups. Once I went through all the ingredients again, checking them with the recipe, I realized my mistake. Instead of throwing out all the ingredients, I just had to deal with the flour and make an adjustment.
It’s also useful in cooking, especially with a new recipe. If you don’t have all the ingredients laid out, you are rushing to add them and sometimes will miss something or put too much in! (guilty as charged: I just did it the other night. Forgot to measure out the heavy cream which was to be added at the end and thus forgot to put it in !!) It’s definitely more relaxing if you are prepared. And it’s essential when making a stir-fry!
I have these cute little glass dishes, that are just perfect for one egg, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of flour, 1 tablespoon of chopped green onions, etc. And then I have these glass and ceramic bowls (some from my Mom) that are great for putting: 1-1/2 cups of coconut, 8 ounces of chocolate chips, 1 cup of chopped onions, 1/2 cup of seeded and chopped tomato, haha, I could go on!! You need to set yourself up with these, so that it will be easy to lay out your ingredients and then it will start to become a habit!!