Mise en Place for Amelia Bedelia
I mentioned in one of my more recent posts that I’ve come a long way in the past couple of years with the help of a couple of cookbooks and someone named Tom. You can tell from our postings (I think) that my core of inspiration centers not around dinnertime but around the dinner table, the chairs we sit in, and the plates we eat off of… all things for the home.
But! That doesn’t mean I can’t share cooking tips, too. It just means that you probably already knew the ones that I share, vs. some of the more crazy-advanced-wow-factor ones from another writer on this site. In this case, it might even be just an excuse to share a colorful photo with you all.
Below you’ll see just about everything that went into a minestrone that I made this time last year. Soup is usually a great example of a “one pot meal,” but in order to assemble this mise en place (French for you should probably read that recipe and prep a few things before you start cooking), I dirtied a bowl or two as well:
I share this picture because the Amelia in me wants you to know: before you cook, check that part of the recipe—the ingredient list—where it tells you what you’ll be using for your task. Notice how it says “1 cup x, _______ed.” That verb after the stuff tells you that you have to do something! Chopped, minced, zested, boiled, etc. True, this is probably obvious to most, but when I was first making things I tended to begin where step one was located in the recipe—heat 2 T of olive oil over medium heat, set the oven to 450 degrees? Sure! This led to me reaching points a few paragraphs later with a hot kitchen, burning fat on my hands, and words flying that I won’t mention here because—uh oh—what I’m making actually has to refrigerate overnight and dinner is supposed to be ready in an hour. I’m now officially committed to reading a recipe through in its entirety at least once before I leave the blocks. Reading it a couple of times? Double plus good.