Monday, November 29, 2010

Mise en place

Mise en place is a basic technique employed by many cooks; some swear by it.  From the French, and meaning "set in place," mise en place can make food preparation a breeze.

I've always used this technique when baking, and sometimes when cooking.  But never have I appreciated it more than I do now, cooking in a tiny kitchen.  With very little counter space, there isn't room for excess, especially when preparing a meal.

So when cooking, as I just did over Thanksgiving, measuring and setting out all the ingredients before beginning made preparation easy. That meant that during preparation my precious countertop space wasn't crowded with unnecessary boxes or containers.  One part of the countertop was used for working, the other was used for my mise en place; when I reached for the ingredients, they were there, already set in place.

There are traditional mise en place bowls, like these cuties from Williams-Sonoma, or these from Bormioli, but any small bowls will do.  The end result will be the same: tidy and oh-so-efficient food preparation.

Do you use mise en place when cooking?


  1. I do. Like you said, in a small kitchen it is essential and makes cooking a breeze when all the ingredients are prepped and measured out. Somehow, my collection of tiny bowls has dwindled over the years and I'm in need of a few replacements.

  2.'s so helpful. I really need to do it more often! I also need more of those tiny little bowls. They are cute too!

  3. I do sometimes, and it always goes so much more smoothly when I do! I do however always do this when teaching the husband how to cook something. If I'm able to measure things out ahead of time (and show him how to) it seems to work better!

  4. I do, but very rarely. While I like the look of it, to me the extra dishes to wash aren't worth it. And I feel like it takes more time?

  5. Sometimes you can use this technique without so many tiny bowls. I have measured out various herbs and ingredients & placed them in little piles on a plate. Just "swoop" them off the plate into the dish as you are working. Little tiny bowls are charming though and I always want more.