Mis En Place

Mis En Place


We recently discovered that we have a channel that runs the Martha Stewart cooking show right at the time of day when you are not able to do one more thing except to flop down on the sofa and turn on the tv. Martha loves to throw around her french cooking words. Lucky for me I took a lot of french language training, it was mandatory in elementary school in Winnipeg. So I do understand quit a bit of her cooking vocabulary.

Today’s lesson was different kinds of Pavlova’s day.

While tipping egg whites into her mix master, she mentioned the french phrase, mis en place, which translates to “putting everything in order before you begin.” I realize this idea can be applied to other areas of one’s life.

I always mis en place when soap making. You have to have all your essential oils carefully measured and sitting mis en place before you can pour your soap into the molds. All other sundries must be sitting close by for that brief moment at trace when you can stir in flower petals or clays and of course the fragrant essential oils. Today I am making tea tree and lavender soap with hemp seed oil.

But I can never be totally Martha Stewart, I understand this about myself. I know at the last moment I may change my mind and say, “Hey! Look at that orange peel, I bet I can reach it from here and throw in a handful….” which sometimes creates a disaster. But that is what keeps me creating new and exciting different kinds of soap. It is my need for imagining new recipes that has kept me interested in soap making for many years.

Yes, mis en place is important and a comfort. But sometimes you have to break out and experiment with that little box or bowl of something that is sitting quietly beckoning you  from the shadows. It is begging for you to notice it. “Come on! Mix me into this batch! Don’t you want to see how it looks tomorrow when you pop your soap outta the molds?” I am usually powerless to refuse.


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