Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mise en Place?

Recently I was listening to one of those cooking shows.  You know the ones.  A secret guilty pleasure.  Husband calls it a "Chick Thing."  Whatever.

They were talk about organizing your mise en place.  Okay, so I don't know what that is and I started listening closely.  It means getting out your ingredients and all the stuff you need before cooking.  Really?

Makes me think back to my mother's early cooking lessons.  As I've mentioned, my mother and grandmother were remarkable people, but not educated and not worldly.  And yet, I remember baking with her.  She would get out the flour, sugar, baking soda, butter, etc. and the measuring cups and spoons.  As she added each ingredient, she would put it away.  She would say that it is easier to remember if you've already added something or forgotten something if you are in the habit of putting it away once you use it. 

Another important lesson was to clean as you go.  She kept a sink of hot dish water.  As she finished with something, it went into the sink.  She was a careful wiper.  The counters were always clean because she came behind herself with a wash cloth and wiped up.  Later in life, her counters got cluttered and she was less able to maintain her earlier practices, but I find that I follow her habits.

Who knew Mom was teaching me Mise en Place?  Cooking isn't rocket science.  No wonder some otherwise competitent and highly functional people are intimidated or lack confidence in the kitchen.  Let's call it what it is.  Stay organized and clean as you go.


  1. Oh I'm with you on this one. I had no idea it had a fancy French(?) name. I didn’t learn this from my mom or grandma. I learned to clean as I go in Panama because if I didn't something would get into it. If it wasn't our cat, it was the cockroaches or ants. Also half the kitchen was outside so everything had to be put up and away when closing for the night.

    I've found those habits have stuck. I feel good about that.

  2. I enjoy your visits and comments, Foy.