Mise en place bowls, or mise bowls, are the small bowls of varying sizes you might be familiar with seeing on cooking shows. Sometimes you watch in horror as the chef uses not 10, not 15, but 20 tiny bowls and wonder who in the heck washes all those dishes? (hint: not the chef). But mise bowls can actually be useful for home cooks too, and here's how.
The New Cook
While every home cook should work towards learning to prep while they cook, for those folks who are new to the kitchen, mise bowls can increase their confidence. The real reason for filling those bowls with chopped and measured ingredients before you start cooking is so that you can actually pay attention to what's in the pan while you cook. With time, the new cook will learn what they can chop and prep while the butter melts or the chicken bakes, but while they are learning, mise bowls will save them from a lot of burnt onions.
Mise en Place Basics
The DIY Cook
Home brewers, master home bakers, and cunning home canners all use mise bowls. Taking on kitchen experiments is often an investment of both time and money, so using mise bowls for these hefty kitchen projects saves a lot of heartache. Adding mis-measured yeast into a batch of homemade root beer can result in root beer rockets (ask me how I know), so weighing these ingredients separately is critical to success.
Before I had children, mise bowls were a pretty staple for adorning kitchen shelves and occasionally using for baking. These days mise bowls make cooking with my kids less stressful (no more "Ah, too much salt!") and they double as snack bowls, as well as homes for small beads and the occasional pet bug.
Mise bowls filled with nuts or fresh fruit help fill out cheese plates. Individual desserts served in dainty mise bowls elevate the end of a meal, even if you're just using store-bought ice cream and cookies. Mise bowls make serving guests (and your family) a little easier and a little, well, fancier.
What are some of your favorite uses for mise bowls? Do you use them outside the kitchen?