In this case, food prep means that you have chosen your seasonings, chopped all the vegetables, and even chosen your food serving platters all before you begin cooking.
Honestly, it also extends to making sure the dishes are washed and all counters are cleared. That’s not a requirement but it’s the right thing to do for a peaceful experience. Especially clearing the counters.
But, you know, I think washing dishes and clearing the counters should be done after every cooking experience. Of course we don’t always feel like doing it but it’s like a favor you do for your future self.
Well anyway, back to food!
Food professionals have a fancy name for food prep, it’s called mise en place. “In Place.”
The thing with the professionals is that they tend to use neat little bowls to store their chopped foods in, until they need it.
That’s cool when you have a dishwasher (either a machine or someone paid).
But when you have to do your own dishes, you should minimize it as much as possible.
For that reason, I store my mise en place on waxed paper. Neat pieces of wax paper. And then you can just throw it away after you’re done.
And you can use the wax paper to place your cooking utensils on if you don’t want to use a designated spoon holder.
It really does save time. Especially when you’re making food that cooks quickly.
The times when mise en place don’t need to come first is when something takes a long time to cook. Like when you need to boil water you can do that right at the start.
Something else I like to do in the beginning of cooking is making dessert.
If we’re having dessert that day, I’ll make it in advance. Sometimes, like today, I made a birthday cake and cupcakes all before 11am.
Making dessert early has the huge benefit of allowing the cake or pie, whatever it is, ample time to actually rest and get to its best.
A cake fresh out of the oven is not my favorite way to eat it.
Stale cake is just as bad.
But after resting for 2 hours or so, it’s really much better.
Pies, too. Pie needs to rest so that it can have clean lines when it’s cooked. And so the filling isn’t all loose and runny.
Some desserts should be eaten fresh out of the oven. Cookies are good when they’re nice and warm. Even cookies that are not well made taste pretty good when they’re fresh.
When baking, food prep is also a good idea. When everything is already measured, everything can be mixed in faster.
I can actually go on and on lol but maybe that’ll be boring so we’ll say that this is the end.
Food prep FTW!