This is what a typical dinner prep looks like in my kitchen. Everything is chopped, minced, unjarred, de-canned.
It’s called mise en place [french for get your shit together].
I do this because I like to be relaxed and happy [moderately drunk] in the kitchen.
But this isn’t how most cooks do things.
And it isn’t how recipes are written.
Anytime a recipe says “while this is cooking, do that” I laugh.
Mostly because I suffer from not being able to take even the simplest situations seriously.
But also because “do this while that cooks” means I will:
Note, this is the ONLY area in my life where I’m prepared [just ask my wife/family/anyone].
But I’m a HUGE advocate for mise en place for several reasons.
“What are those reasons, oh Wise One?” you might ask.
And thank you for asking.
Number 1: Having everything chopped and prepped means that I can put away my knife and cutting board. I can clean up. Which means I’m less likely to knock over my glass of wine. Or the bottle [which may or may not have happened several times in the past year].
My kitchen is pretty damn clean when I cook. All prep bowls go straight into the dishwasher. Counters are wiped down. Knives are washed, dried, and put away [unless I’m feeling stabby].
This also means that, with all my ingredients measured and prepped, I can put my entire focus on cooking [wine]. It’s a lot harder to burn something when you’re watching it closely instead of multitasking.
It’s hard to be a good host when you get lightheaded every time you knick your finger [ask me how I know], so mise en place helps me better enjoy the company of my company [wine].
Take it from me, an oft-unprepared lifelong last-minute-Larry, that a little prep goes a LONG way toward upping your kitchen game.
Try it. Just once. And let me know how it goes in the comments below.↓↓↓