Veteran Move #2: Prepare in Advance

These are the mission critical tools every home cook needs to succeed.

Aside from making sure your knives are sharp (and you’re using the right one), there is no more important thing a new cook can do than thoroughly prepare before cooking each dish.

First, make sure you read the recipe more than once… maybe read it three times! And second, as the French say “mis en place” or literally, “put in place’ each element of the recipe BEFORE you even preheat a single pan or turn your oven to 325, 350 or 400.

Next, measure out your spices. Put them in ramekins. Chop your veggies and your protein and pick a stainless bowl them to wait to be added at the right moment. Measure your liquids. If you have more than one liquid, use a ramekin or even a soup bowl to store until the moment of truth. Measure your dry ingredients and have them standing by.

Once I started taking the time to get everything organized first, cooking became sooo much easier and my results improved astronomically. Your’s will too, believe me!

It’s a good idea to have a one cup, two cup and a four cup Pyrex glass wet measure standing by to measure out and possibly pour wet ingredients
Dry measuring cups are designed to be filled to the top and evened off by drawing a straight edge across the top. Dry ingredient volume measured in dry measures will be more accurate than in wet measures and vice versa… they are designed to allow for this
I have two sets of measuring spoons which vary in size from 1/8 teaspoon to 1 Tablespoon. I constantly use both simultaneously
There are no prep devices more useful than a stack of inexpensive ‘Dollar store’ ramekins. They hold up to 1/4 cup dry and wet ingredients and In never cook without at least a few
Be sure to have a selection of stainless steel bowls on hand to hold pre-chopped veggies and pre-sliced, seasoned proteins ready to add to tonight’s recipe
There are even standard measures for cookie scoops which can also be used to serve potatoes, rice and other assorted starches

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