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Mise en place, pronounced MEEZ ahn plahs, means is to have all your ingredients prepared and ready to go before you start cooking. Translated, “ to put in place.”
You already apply this technique in your life. For instance, when you go on a trip, first you make sure you have everything you need and are not forgetting anything, then fold everything nice and neatly so it fits into your bags. Or how about when you are changing the oil in your car. Wait a minute, who changes their oil anymore? How about balancing your checkbook? Hmm, do these even exist anymore? I think you see my point here.
If you are like me, and I hate to admit this but I often just jump into a recipe without prepping my work space. I assume that I have all the ingredients needed based on my never failing memory. (not!) There have times when I am half way into a recipe when all of a sudden a slew of words start to roll off my tongue…
“HONEY!! can you run to the store for me?!” I bet you thought was I was going to say something else, didn’t you? haha
Preparing a mise en place not only assures you that you have all of the ingredients needed, it also forces you to really read through a recipe first so you understand what is needed and how the ingredients are used. Not to mention it is like having an assistant as you are in the midst of making your recipe. You don’t have to fumble around for a measuring spoon, you don’t have to search through the cabinets trying to find an ingredient.
Most likely you are already practicing this technique without even realizing it. Think back to the last time you made tacos. You create bowls of; lettuce, onions, salsa, sour cream, etc. All ready for the family to use to assemble their tacos. I know I was doing this long before I even heard the French words, Mise en Place!