One of the first things I learned in my culinary classes was the French term mise en place, which roughly translates to everything in its place. This is one of the essential concepts in the kitchen and starts before you even think about cooking. Having the right ingredients, tools, and equipment to help your cooking experience goes smoothly is very important. Like I said in my previous blog, “Cooking And Cost Savings?” being prepared can help you save money when you cook. I wanted to discuss some of the things I used to help me organize before cooking a new dish or even step foot in the kitchen.
I think we’ve all seen those recipes that are so long and complicated that we were overly intimidated and shy away from the recipe. One great way of getting used to a new recipe is to rewrite it in a particular format known as T forming a recipe. Although this can be done in many ways, here is a link to one of my favorite Excel templates for this recipe format. T forming recipes allows you to see what ingredients are needed for each step. By doing this, you get a chance to read through your recipe and look at all of the necessary steps and ingredients and how to do it most efficiently. I’ve been doing this process for years, and it’s given me a clearer picture of a recipe before I even start.
Another excellent tool for being prepared in the kitchen has the time to do stuff. Let’s face it when we get home from a long day of work, the last thing we want to do is start cutting vegetables. This can be done ahead of time, be on Sunday night, and prepare for the entire week so recipes can go smoothly and quickly. Not only does having these ingredients on hand and in the prepared form save you so much time, but you’re less likely to come home and just order takeout if the recipe only takes 20 minutes to cook. Now keep in mind this is different from meal prepping because the meal will still be prepared fresh when you’re serving it, but prep work like cutting onions and vegetables can be done all at once. It’s also efficient to use a food processor and not rewash it every Night to chop the vegetables.
Everyone should take the time to do that mise en place, and trust me; you won’t regret it. Go through those recipes, rewrite them, and understand them so that when you come to prepare the dish, it can be a successful project. Hopefully, both of these things can help you be more organized and prepared in the kitchen to keep it cooking; let’s all go and mise en place.