Le Creuset Pinch Bowls

Le Creuset Pinch Bowls help you achieve mise en place

Le Creuset Pinch Bowls help you achieve mise en place

You can squeeze them to pour out the ingredients

You can squeeze them to pour out the ingredients

Do you ever watch those cooking shows on TV? They have everything all pre-measured, pre-sliced, pre-diced, ready to go. So that when they tell their television viewing audience, "Now we'll add a quarter teaspoon of salt, a half-teaspoon of thyme, a 1/4 cup of diced onion," and so forth.... All they have to do is toss those things into the bowl.

They make it look so easy, don't they?

There's actually a phrase for that practice: Mise en place, which is French for "everything in place" or "to put in place." There's a restaurant in Tampa called Mise En Place; years ago, I used to dine there. I went there once with a friend who told me that "mise en place" could be translated, loosely, as "get your shit together."

To fully practice mise en place, you'll get out all the peelers and spatulas and mixing spoons and blenders and whisks and bowls and pots and pans and everything else you'll need. You'll pre-heat the oven. You'll pre-open jars and cans. You'll pre-cut your asparagus and pre-wash your lettuce. And you'll get out every single ingredient that you're going to use, make sure you have the right ingredients in sufficient quantities,  and you'll slice and chop and dice and measure everything before you actually start cooking anything.

Then, when you get to the actual cooking part, everything's easy. No more getting halfway through a recipe and having your oil start smoking because you're still busy chopping the onions, or getting to the very end of your recipe and discovering you don't have a lemon to squeeze lemon juice on the final dish.

Mise en place isn't just for professional chefs. It makes life loads easier for us amateurs, too! Honestly, cooking is so much easier and faster and more pleasant when you have everything ready to go. (Or, in the words of my friend, when you "have your shit together.")

Progressive International Set of 4 Silicone Pinch Bowl

Progressive International

Buy from $7.53

That's where these pinch bowls by Le Creuset come in. They're tiny little things — just one-quarter cup capacity each, and that's filled to the brim. But they help you cook like a pro, with the mise en place approach.

They're great for pre-measuring all the ingredients that you use just a tiny amount of: a pinch, an eighth or a quarter of a teaspoon, a tablespoon or two. The  interiors are smooth, so even sticky ingredients like fresh garlic slide out easily.

They're flexible, so you can squeeze the sides to funnel the ingredients for pouring.

I bought one set of four, and I use my smallest pyrex bowls when I need more bowls. But I'll probably order another set pretty soon. They take up almost no space in my cabinets and they're inexpensive, and they make me feel much more proficient and professional when I cook.

I got the Le Creuset brand during one of Amazon's 4-for-3 offers, but there are a variety of different brands, styles and sizes available.

 

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