One of the key ingredients to great cooking is good preparation. In the culinary arts, this is also known as Mise-en-place (pronounced [miz on plas]), a French term that means "everything in its place". In professional kitchens this refers to the concept of organizing and arranging the ingredients that a cook will need to prepare the dishes during his shift. An organized kitchen will not only be a more pleasant place to spend your time, but it will also do wonders to aid in good preparation. To help keep your Mise-en-place from slipping into "mess- in-place", we’d like to offer some organization tips for your kitchen:
Maximize your cabinets
Most kitchen cabinets are two feet deep. Are you using all of that space? Consider installing pull-out shelves and racks. These will make even the hardest to reach areas of your cabinets easily accessible. There are cabinet organizers available to suit every need. They can help you to "file" away your cookie sheets or pot/pan lids, or even your heavy duty counter-top mixer can be stowed away when not in use.
Another option for your cabinets can be a simple solution, such as a lazy Susan for spices and other common items. A simple spin will bring the back of the cabinet to the front. Drawer dividers are for more than just spoons and forks. Utilize them to keep your cooking utensils, accessories for appliances, or linens separated and you’ll no longer be rummaging to find what you need! If there is room, take advantage of the back of your cabinet doors, too. You can hang measuring cups and spoons, cutting boards and many other things.
If you have open cabinets without doors, try picking up some baskets to store items in. They’re attractive and can be pulled out for easy access.
The well-stocked pantry has evoked feelings of security and comfort throughout history. An important part of maintaining one is knowing what you have in there. If you’re pantry isn’t organized, you may actually be storing old, outdated food that has been buried behind newer items, thus filling up your valuable space with un-usable product. Like any other closet in your home, storage systems such as ClosetMaid™ offer a variety of options to make access and organization easy. Sturdy wire shelving with pullout drawers and baskets from floor to ceiling can make your pantry a thing of pride. Depending on what type of doors you have on your pantry, an over the door organizer with see-through pockets can be utilized for additional storage!
Another tenet to a well-organized kitchen is utilizing as many "multi-function" items as possible; meaning, try not to have too many single use utensils or dishes. An egg separator is a good example. Why store something that you will only use once or twice a year? In keeping with that concept, why decorate your kitchen with things that are just for show? Or conversely, why hide all of your attractive cookware rather than display it? Consider hanging your pots either on a ceiling rack over an island, or on the wall over the stove. Your attractive bake-ware, casseroles and bowls can also be proudly displayed. As a result, you will have quicker access to the cookware you need and free up valuable cabinet space in the process! If you have the room to put up shelving, consider adding pegs or hooks beneath the shelves and you could hang potholders or aprons.
When it comes to storing things, there are a few basics to keep in mind. Try to store items by their frequency of use. Everyday dishes should be located on easy-to-reach lower shelves and the rare use items up above. Additionally, you should try to group items by their purpose and assign them to their own cabinets. For example, store bake-ware in the same place. Around the stove area, you should designate a "cooking zone" where pots, lids, potholder and utensils are all within reach.