Mise en place: Have everything in Place Before Cooking

Mise En Place - Squash MedleyMise en place (pronounced MEEZ ahn plahs) is a French culinary phrase which means “everything in its place.” I learned this term in 2012 when I attended a Boot Camp at the CIA. (The Culinary Institute of America, not that other CIA!)

What is the Purpose of Mise En Place?

The idea is that you prepare everything before you start cooking. Below you can see a picture where I’ve set things up before cooking a chicken stir fry. I find it pleasant to do so. I dream of having matching bowls in various sizes just for this purpose! I like to line foods up in the order they will go into the pan. That way, I don’t have to think about it while I’m cooking.

Mise En Place - Chicken Stir Fry

I also don’t have to run around getting various spices and foods that will go into the recipe. They’re all there waiting for me.

How do you Mise En Place?

Start by reading your recipe. This is a good time to make sure you have all of the ingredients. If you find you are missing one or more ingredients, this is the time to start a list. (And also resort to Plan B for dinner. You do have a Plan B, right?) Substitutions may or may not work, especially for the inexperienced cook.

Assemble your ingredients all in one place, as in the picture below.

Mise En Place - Hot 'n Spicy Pecans

Start preparing each ingredient. Some things you’ll want to measure. Others will need to be cut up.

You don’t have to measure everything right now. For spices, I often set the spice out with the correct measuring spoon beside it.

Line all of your prepared ingredients up in the order they go into the dish.

Commence cooking.

Mise En Place - Sweet Potato Salad

Do You Always Mise En Place?

I do some form of mise en place most of the time, but I may ‘cheat’ sometimes. Especially with recipes I’m familiar with. For example, I may not cut up some vegetables at the beginning because I know I’ll have a long wait time while other things are cooking.
Do you Mise En Place? #WhatsCookingWithBarbara Click To Tweet
A prime example is when I make Red Beans & Rice or Chili. For those recipes, the dish simmers on the stove for an hour or more. I often prepare the spices during that cook time.

There are no hard and fast rules. I encourage you to give it a try to see if it impacts your cooking experience. What do you think? Will you give it a try?

Want more info on cooking? You’ll find many included in my cookbook, Veggies 101. Are you on my mailing list? It’s the best way to keep informed about the progress on Veggies 101. By the way, do you want to be on the list that gets news about this site first? Sign up here.

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