Most of you know this, but for those who don't, "mise en place" means “put in place,” or when talking about your kitchen, it means getting everything diced, chopped, prepped and ready to go. You lay out the foods, you gather up the utensils and tools. You get yourself ready and then you cook.
So, I want to show you my mise en place when we made pizza the other day with the girls.
By the way, we used fresh basil from the girls garden...
We also grew cilantro, fennel and cherry tomatoes (or as Lucy says, "Toe-mah-toes", like her father) It's like Old McDonald's farm around here. But no cows.
And we used a pepper from "Lucy The Pepper Plant". Lucy actually grew a Cubanelle. Again, Old McDonald. No cows.
Lucy looks a little "Laura Ingalls Wilder/Wife of a Polygymist Cult Leader" in this photo with her hair curly. Note to self: Stop doing the children's hair. You aren't good at it.
Just for edification purposes: This is what a real chef's "mise" looks like.
And this is what our mise en place looks like:
First, hop on the work space to get a better vantage point. Chefs are always advising this. Not enough people actually do it.
Pour salt in cheese.
Get as much cheese as possible dispersed across the work table. The more scattered widely about the room or shoved deeply into crevasses and flooring, the better.
Pour more salt on cheese. You can never have too much salt in your cheese.
Let nothing deter you from using all the cheese all over the work station. This is how Anthony Bourdain does it. Even if he doesn't admit it.
Put cheese on tomato.
Put basil and more cheese on tomato.
Put salt on cheese, basil and tomato.
Ask for more salt. Because you never have enough salt.
Step back. Admire your handi-work. Feel good that whole rooms were destroyed in the cooking process.
Sit in laundry basket near the cheese littered, bacteria-laden, crumb-infested floor, that is an affront to all good parents everywhere, and wait for pizza to be done.
And that, my friends, is mise en place. In my house.
The real picture of mise en place (above) comes from Michael Ruhlman's blog. His wife, Donna Turner Ruhlman shot the photo. She's a professional. I tell you all this because I have shamelessly lifted it from his blog without even asking. (See? I'm like Sarah Palin after all. Messy life. Sketchy moral compass.)Thanks Michael!