A post on The Vanilla Bean blog reminded me how easy it is to let the mind wander into territory of comfort and repetition, falling away for only a few moments from the project at hand. Consequences inevitably arise.
The VB author posted about losing momentary focus when baking Chocolate Pots de Creme with Lavender & Sea Salt earlier this month. It was a recipe she had made many times before and became lax when distracted by other activity. We’ve all been there.
In a post a few months ago on The Essential Garden blog, I did a best-guess estimate on cooking time for Chocolate Souffle as I only had 3 oz ramekins and not the 8 oz souffle dishes called for in Robert Parks’ recipe that was posted on the Food Network blog. Although experimentation is frequently necessary, it’s always a roll of the dice to alter cooking time. The end result was a bit of “fall” when the souffles cooled. Perhaps a few extra moments of attention in each stage of the recipe (including the baking) might have provided a different result. The truth is that I know instinctively when I’ve glossed over a step in favor of speed or distraction.
What I’ve come to realize is that mise en place isn’t just about assembling the requisite utensils and ingredients before starting to cook. It’s really dedication to a lifestyle that gives weight to being fully present for each activity in our lives, including the prep, execution and completion of cooking.
I wouldn’t want to miss a moment of it.