The Kitchen Utensils Ina Garten Always Keeps Within Easy Reach

The French cooking technique mise en place literally translated means "establishment," but theoretically means to have all your ingredients ready to go before you begin cooking. If you've ever watched videos of professional chefs doing their thing or peeked into a restaurant kitchen, you might have noticed they have their ingredients pre-chopped or pre-measured, oftentimes in small bowls or ramekins ready to go. This way, when the ingredients hit the pan, there's no need to panic. 

When it comes to efficiency in the kitchen, one of our favorite kitchen experts, Ina Garten, has an additional mise en place adjacent technique that she utilizes in her own kitchen. It's a tip that can help you move even more effortlessly through your cooking process — a bunch of spoons.

A simple trick for efficiency

In her East Hampton kitchen, Ina Garten explains in a video via New York Times Cooking, that she has several tricks for making her kitchen as efficient as possible. One that might be the easiest and most impactful is to keep a jar of spoons on the countertop for tasting and stirring. Rather than purchase a set of expensive spoons, Garten explains that she prefers to buy antique silver spoons, which she says are also inexpensive.

By taking a play out of Garten's playbook, you'll always have spoons readily available for tasting and mixing your ingredients. Plus you don't need to disrupt your set of flatware that you use for dining, which means your stirring and tasting won't affect your ability to set the table for a dinner party. Not only is this an efficiency hack, but it's environmentally friendly. It always feels good to give a second life to something that you buy used, vintage, or antique. It means fewer items end up in the landfill and you'll often have a great story attached to items you find secondhand.