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Mise En Place

Mise En Place

Mise En Place

Mise En Place is a culinary term that describes the act of gathering, preparing, and organizing all your ingredients and materials before you start cooking.

Mise En Place refers to the physical setup of the process. It also refers to the mental readiness to get the job done. Of course, we need a kitchen with the right ingredients to prepare exquisite, nutritious meals. But a confident physical and psychological readiness is also necessary.

Kitchen Reset

A few years back, I graduated from the Forks Over Knives plant-based cuisine course taught by Rouxbe Culinary Institute.  Not surprisingly, the very first assignment was called the “kitchen reset.”

In the kitchen reset, we were to:

  1. Discard all ingredients contrary to the plant-based philosophy
  2. Acquire those ingredients needed to prepare the meals
  3. Organize both the pantry and the refrigerator

The Organized Kitchen and Mise En Place

This assignment made me think of the tight relationship between having an organized kitchen and the Mise En Place concept.

We can easily monitor product freshness and inventory levels when we have an organized pantry and refrigerator. That’s a big step in favor of nutritional quality and budget control. Also, having an organized kitchen allows one to achieve the mental and emotional readiness required to be efficient at and enjoy the process of cooking.

Organized and clean kitchens are more inviting, so we use them more often than messy, cluttered ones. Owners of such kitchens enjoy cooking and tend to cook healthier meals.

Efficient Kitchen Systems

To become a true kitchen ninja, you better know more than what a Mise En Place is.

Daily processes, maintenance routines, and kitchen systems are the true heroes behind an efficient, enjoyable kitchen and a happy cooking time.

The value of meal services such as Green Chef or Blue Apron, for example, is the Mise En Place delivered to your door. They provide all the ingredients needed to prepare dinners in the amount needed. Their ingredients have been sourced, washed, cut, and individually packed for your specific meal, including the recipe to follow, of course.

However, if you wish to enjoy that same efficiency in meal prepping but without the price tag of a meal delivery service, you must pay attention to the processes behind that Mise En Place and the systems that support an efficient kitchen.

Here are four processes that support an efficient kitchen and a streamlined meal prep process.

  • Managing Recipes & Meal Planning
  • Processing Groceries
  • Organizing Fridge & Freezer
  • Organizing Pantry

Managing Recipes & Meal Planning

Managing your recipes takes care of all those clippings, books, and notes floating in our cabinets. But most importantly, it promotes the use of favorite recipes in healthier, varied menu creation. The key is how you organize your recipes to start using them daily. See the video where we discuss recipe management here.

As a bonus, managing the recipes makes it easier to develop the weekly grocery shopping list without overbuying (recipes include all ingredient amounts). Not overbuying means less waste of food and money.

Processing Groceries

What happens to all those items bought at the grocery store when they come home? These need to become part of our systems if we seek to improve kitchen efficiency.

Incorporating groceries into our systems means that pantry products and refrigerated items need to be unbagged, unboxed, stripped of outer packaging as much as possible, washed, cut, divided, re-containerized, or decanted.

The goal is to have every item needed to cook or to put together a snack or breakfast as ready to be used as possible.

Organizing Fridge & Freezer

An organized fridge and freezer means adequately designating the containers to maintain those items processed from grocery shopping.

Containers should seal properly, preferably be transparent or translucent, be labeled (choose a labeling system that allows for constant changes), be BPA-free, and be dishwasher and microwave safe.

The freezer and fridge organization also needs to consider the zoning. By grouping items according to purpose or type of meal in the freezer and fridge, everyone has an easier time finding what they need.

Organizing Pantry

The pantry configuration can make or break your time in the kitchen. The organization of the pantry should maximize the use of its space, add convenience with the placement of items and maintain product freshness. Read all about the details that comprise a stellar pantry here.

Start organizing your kitchen to enjoy your Mise En Place and efficient cooking.

The Greatest Pitfall in Home Management

The Greatest Pitfall in Home Management

No Time for Housekeeping

Here’s my take on the greatest pitfall in home management.

That laundry basket seems to travel around the house and never gets emptied. Do you know that basket? Families don’t have time to finish the . It looks like cleaning up the kitchen is another problem for most people.

Laundry, paper, and kitchen are the nemeses of so many! I repeatedly hear an argument: “there is not enough time to keep the house in order.” The problem here is probably a lack of systems and time management skills.

Have You Ever Had a Managerial Role?

I have identified a common pitfall among household managers — not acting as managers at home. Most people do not apply in their homes the skill set that makes them successful at work. But why not?

If you work outside the house, you have managed to keep your job, staying on top of things. Regardless of the type of work you do, there are out-of-the-ordinary projects and day-to-day ones. And those routine tasks most likely comprise the backbone of your job. Whether you supervise those tasks or execute them, the responsibility is yours. If you stopped ensuring those processes were thoroughly performed, things would go south rapidly.

Why can’t we all plan and execute like true managers at home? One might think it is because home is where we rest and do not want to think of chores and duties.

Here’s the Irony

But the irony here is that the more you feel that way, the more chaotic your home environment will be and the less you can rest and relax.

Looking for the million things you can’t find in the home, buying duplicates, wasting time, effort, and money, forgetting essential family commitments, or not having a dining room table available to gather around.

Each time we neglect our home duties, we add a new layer of chaos to our most intimate environment and the corresponding that such chaos brings. Are you sure your home is where you want to rest and forget about the stress of your job?

What Get Scheduled, Gets Done

Running the home like a well-oiled machine requires planning what needs to happen. Remember that what gets scheduled gets done.

You would not leave it to chance or rely on “when you have time” to make client appointments at work or to write that report for the boss, right? So then, why not schedule house chores and involve every household member? This way, everyone contributes to the home and learns to execute all these domestic chores. This knowledge is essential. Your kids don’t want to go to college to realize they don’t even know how to boil an egg.

Then Schedule It!

Much of our household stress would decrease if we transferred some of the management skills we proudly displayed at work to the home and startedthe many menial household tasks.

Planning allows us to control when and how these things happen, while scheduling means that those chores will stop interfering with our lives — they will be part of it.


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