Mise en place has saved many recipes from becoming huge disasters. Roger first introduced me to the term and then our local Culinary Institute, where I took a couple of classes. I resisted at first claiming it added extra time to make the meal.
Mise en place is French for everything in its place. Roger bought two different sets of small bowls ranging from one cup to holding one or two tablespoons of ingredients. The smaller dishes were helpful, as you really didn’t need huge dishes.
I first thought putting all the ingredients in little dishes was a waste of time, not to mention it created more dirty dishes. However, I noticed Roger was more relaxed while cooking and needless to say his dishes came out fabulous, while mine would burn as I hurriedly cut up the next ingredient.
So I decided to give it a try. Yes, it did extend the time for making the meal, but once I got used to the process, I was much more relaxed and able to enjoy my time in the kitchen a whole lot more. I wasn’t rushing around looking for or cutting the next ingredient(s) before it burned or got stuck to the bottom of the pot. I was able to pay more attention to the method, which then gave me a more in-depth knowledge of how the recipe’s ingredients worked together.
I also learned how to manage my time in the kitchen better. Before mise en place I would gather and cut my ingredients up as I went, so I didn’t have much time in between the steps, but with mise en place I did. Now that I had all this free time in between steps I was able to wash up after myself or do other things depending on how long the time was.