Mise en Place, Please


Super cool thing-a-majigs

Urgency Day 303

500 Things Items 196-199: Tools from Paul’s dad

  • History: Cool tools inherited from a cool daddio
  • Value: Priceless, even the one that still had its $10.12 sales slip
  • Parting Pain: Joy of passing along family treasures
  • Un-possessing: Gifts to next gen.

Continuing the list of names I almost used for this blog: mise en place.

My foodie friends will be familiar with this phrase, as will my Francophile amis. It means “everything in place.” In an efficiently run kitchen, it’s the prep done before the actual cooking starts. Gathering, slicing, measuring of ingredients: If everything the recipe calls for is in place before you begin, you will never have to turn off the flame under your beautifully browning onions to madly run to the store for an egg.

And who can come out with just one egg?

I like to extend the concept of mise en place beyond cooking preparation to the more general notion of everything in its place: Orderliness and organization in all things (just thinking about it made my shoulders unclench). For me, the downsizing I’m chronicling in this blog is about bringing more order, organization and, truly,  serenity to my life.

Paul and I are on two simultaneous downsizing paths:

  • Getting rid of our crap;
  • “Getting rid of” our son.

While we take full responsibility for the first task, Sam has taken the lead in getting himself out of the door. Most high school seniors really really want to leave home; I am thrilled with the organization Sam has embraced for this goal. Here’s a picture of his very mise en place college applications system (click on photo to see details).

Sam's mise; my Purple Lamp and RPSLS*

Oh dear… I guess this means he actually will be leaving then.

Excuse me while I go mess with his mise

*Purple Lamp post and RPSLS is Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock (thanks, Sean!).


4 Responses to “Mise en Place, Please”

  1. kara Says:

    When you are done with your house, could you please come and find a place for everything in mine?

  2. Donna Says:

    As Sam works on getting himself out the door, I can’t help but remember the days when you used to have to promise him he could always live with you, or that he could build a house next door to yours and live there — about as far away as he could bear to think of going. But now Sam is securing his ticket to ride and searching for his Platform 9 and 3/4. And no Tic Tacs have been harmed in this process!

  3. melanie Says:

    Have you traveled lately to the Land of Denial? There, where I am the mayor, children are simultaneously able to leave home to make their way in the world, yet be home with their mothers baking cookies 24 hours a day.Don’t look at Sam’s bulletin board any more. Join me here in Land of Denial. The airline tickets are cheap!

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