There is an oft-uttered phrase, “a place for everything, and everything in its place,” or otherwise known in the culinary world as “mise en place,” which is French for “putting in place” or “set in place.” Mom says “a place for everything…” when she’s giving advice on how to keep a child’s bedroom clean. Grandma says it when she is trying to explain why she knitted a cozy to store her yard stick. The boss says it when an employee has misplaced a company-issued iPhone. In the culinary world, it’s not uncommon to hear a chef or sous chef utter words such as, “gather the mise en place” prior to starting a shift. It has become part of a chef or cook’s ritual to set one’s ingredients in front of him or her when cooking a meal.
For culinary purposes, mise en place bowls or containers are used to organize and arrange ingredients that a cook or chef will use to prepare and cook a meal or meal(s). Setting up mise en place bowls is an effective time saver while cooking and also awesome items to collect.
I’ve collected mise en place bowls for years, and prefer to have my ingredients measured out in front of me in separate bowls for easy and quick access. Who wants to be struggling to find a clean measuring spoon or rifling through the spice cabinet for that wayward and seldom used saffron stored way in the back while the paella is spurting on the stove waiting for its next ingredient. It may seem a bit overly-organized, but it sure beats coming up short on a missing ingredient when I am cooking.
Yesterday, my new stoneware mise en place bowls arrived, and I excitedly tore open the box and unwrapped each beautiful little bowl and fell in love with each one. I have lost count of the number of mise en place bowls I own, and I have no intention of ending my collection. I love them!