Mise en Place: Sara Moulton, I respectfully disagree

I was playing on the interwebs recently and ran across a post on Sara Moulton’s blog about mise en place. Now, I wasn’t always a subscriber to the whole concept of prepping ingredients. In my early cooking days, I was more a ‘lets wing it, shall we?’ kind of gal.

As I experiment with more difficult concepts.. cheese making, meat curing, indian cuisines.. or with things that require fast cooking, or baking… the more I have come to rely heavily on the process.

My love affair with prepping and measuring

My love affair with prepping and measuring

In her blog she describes her process for a specific recipe.. how she will turn the pan on, add the oil, chop the onion, etc. My contention when I read this is that she probably has pretty good knife skills. Mine? Not BAD, but definitely not on par with the culinary trained. For her to, as a blanket, say that mise en place is kind of worthless does a disservice to the burgeoning home cook.

Will someone who can barely (or even just adequately) use a knife be able to peel and dice an onion, and two cloves of garlic before the oil over medium heat turns into a raging inferno?? Probably not.

Some of the commenters talk about the kitchen being a well timed symphony.. but this is a false analogy as well. It’s not like the violinists start playing when they trot in the door. They sit down, take their instruments and music out.. it’s a PROCESS.

I can definitely get behind each person having their own style and preference, but .. I prefer a pace in my kitchen that isn’t frenetic. If I ‘waste’ 10 minutes cutting and portioning items, then I can have a nice cooking experience in which I don’t run around like a maniac.

But hey, that’s just my two cents.

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About The Confluent Kitchen

I am food obsessed. I love trying new recipes, putzing in the kitchen, making my own cheese and other random kitchen tom-foolery. Follow my exploits.. the good, the bad, and the burnt.
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4 Responses to Mise en Place: Sara Moulton, I respectfully disagree

  1. siannaj says:

    so so true. I love to prep first. Plus my prep can take a good hour with the starts and stops I have. Could you imagine not prepping and trying to do it all on a time limit and not kill whatever I am cooking when someone needs a drink/hug/boo boo kissed/ snack right when I should be getting that onion diced.

  2. Ben says:

    I like taking prep slowly. I like the wine aspect. Nous laissez faire.

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