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  • Writer's pictureKristin Cole

This Kitchen Technique Brings Calm to All Areas of Life

Uliana Kopanytsia / Unsplash

Mise en place. Everything in its place.

When creating a calm and orderly outer world, it is essential that we take the time to set ourselves up properly. By gathering what we need and preparing for the task at end, our process becomes more streamlined. As Gretchen Rubin states, outer calm leads directly to inner calm. And isn't that what we all desire as highly sensitive people?

I first came upon these wise words as a young culinary student when my instructor instilled them into my growing French vocabulary. "Before you turn on za heat, you must prep everyzing. We call eet 'mise en place'."

In that setting, we had endless tiny bowls to sort our perfectly chopped vegetables and herbs for our pre-measured pastry ingredients. The concept has carried over through the years and I'm still practicing these important lessons. Beautiful piles of cut produce are arranged along the cutting board - sliced, diced and julienned just so. Individual ingredients are prepped out in a rainbow of glass containers, ready to be assembled for quick weekday meals like hardy salads, grain bowls and tacos.

The idea is that if you focus on one step at a time in the kitchen, as in life, you will stay in the present moment. When it comes time to turn on the stove, you will be able to focus exclusively on what's in the pan rather than frantically searching for ingredients.

When Daniela and I cook together, she is the master of mise en place, which makes the pleasure of cooking much more enjoyable. I get to play in my kitchen sandbox and exercise my creativity without having to go through the more mechanical phase of prepping. I am so grateful for our compatibility in this arena as it makes cooking fun for both of us.

Step-by-step. Presence. Focus. The building blocks to moving forward.

When we can set ourselves up in cooking or other areas of life, we are able to take calm and clear steps forward instead of jerky, back-and-forth patterns. I know that whenever I practice mise en place in other areas of my home, life feels a little bit easier.

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