Mis en Place

In his books, Anthony Bourdain places a lot of emphasis on mis en place, the notion of preparing your work space before you start the magical alchemy of chopping, stirring, and frying ingredients into nourishing food.

It’s the same thing we do with our work spaces before we start a CrossFit workout: that careful arrangement of mat, dumbbells, water bottle, kettlebell, jump box… or the pre-run ritual of tying my shoes, adjusting my iPod strap, adjusting the position of my hat. It’s all meant to produce optimal performance, efficiency, and comfort.

Here are the steps I take to ensure my ideal cooking situation so I can happily crank out the food that will power Dave and I through our training, work, and musical challenges this week:

1. Feed the cat so she stops winding through my feet, meowing.

2. Tune the stereo to a long list of songs with which I can sing along. Loudly.

3. Pull my hair back in a ponytail. Change into a tank top so I can wash my hands and stir pots and chop vegetables without the hassle of sleeves getting in the way. Put on a cute apron so I have somewhere to wipe my hands.

4. Put a pile of clean handtowels, measuring cups, and measuring spoons within easy reach.

5. Prioritize the order of my recipes for optimal management of stovetop space and pot/pan useage.

6. Strategically place the cheesy celebrity magazine I just bought within my sight line as a promise of the reward I’ll get when my cooking chores are completed. My favorite is US Weekly. (And my especially special favorite is any issue with Jessica Simpson on the cover.)

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  • Erin Clare says:

    I think anytime a woman eats even a “normal” sized meal, it just doesn’t process as fast as man’s metabolism. Unless you’re one of those lucky few women whose metabolisms are ridiculously high, women are always concious of eating less.

    Men run the magazine world. Women respond to what they read. Critics harp on weight with women stars. It is unfairly compared to men being fit, but it’s simple biology. Men are meant to be fundamentally fit and therefore can afford some extra leeway on food.

    Women are emotional and sometimes food is the calming factor…but our bodies hold onto it more than a man’s. And the world is unforgiving of large women for the most part. Unfair or not, it’s the reality. I think she looks “normal”. She’s not at super-model status right now, but shit…people should give her a break.

    Have you seen Alec Baldwin?? No one seems to give a shit he’s a fat bag of bloated gas…

    Just my two cents, for what it’s worth.