Mise en Place


Instead of telling you what you should keep in your kitchen, I thought I would show you what we have and how we use everything. I had the advantage of starting with a blank slate- my husband is an excellent chef, but didn't have much in the way of cookware, and I could map nucleotides, but couldn't follow a recipe from the American Girl® Cookbook. Everything is organized by where we use items. If I'm at the stove, I can easily reach cooking equipment, spices, etc.; if I'm putting away food, jars are accessible from the shelves above. The 'pantry' (half a cabinet) is arranged with oldest items in front and newest in back. When I organize other peoples' cabinets, my pet peeves are mismatched Tupperware, too many mugs / teas / cereals, half-eaten bags of snacks, and untouched spices.

Pots / pans /  baking dishes

1 long handled saucepan
1 long handled pan
1 stock pot
2 glass baking dishes- 1 large, 1 small
1 baking sheet, included with oven (fits like a shelf)

We use stainless steel (18/10 inox) because cast-iron and enamel retain gluten. I read online that re-seasoning cast iron makes it safe to use- that isn't even a little bit true. Pots and pans go in the oven, stacked above the baking dishes. Glass cookware is highly inert, pretty, and doesn't leach into food.


Utensils / Kitchen Equipment

1 set measuring cups
1 peeler
1 ladle
1 spatula
1 spoon
1 garlic press (hanging, see middle photo)
1 chef's knife (plastic handle, but we already had these. I would never waste a perfectly good knife just to be plastic-free)
1 paring knife
1 Georg Jensen salad set (large spoon and fork- replaces whisk and masher)
1 Georg Jensen pizza / pie server
Peugeot pepper mill
Can opener
Colander (replaces a steam basket)
1 metal bowl
1 stoneware bowl
Wooden cutting board (doesn't breed bacteria like plastic, but retains gluten. Cheese platter, pastry board, and serving board)
20 glass jars, various sizes, for bulk dry goods, spices, and storing food / leftovers

I resisted a vegetable peeler our first year in Paris because I usually leave skins on- a paring knife does the same thing anyway. I don't like canned foods or corked wines, but they sneak in sometimes, so we need openers. All jars, plates, and bowls are oven safe, perfect for mini pies, little cakes, and cookies.



1 Moulinex (grates, shreds, cuts- a gift from Darty because they never delivered our iron)
Refrigerator (no freezer)
Induction cooktop
All-in-one washer / dryer (it doesn't really dry anything)


Georg Jensen spoons, forks, and knives, 8 each
Wine glasses and drinking glasses, 10 each
Stoneware plates and bowls, 8 each
4 glass bottles (replaces rolling pin)
4 teacups with saucers

Tout le reste

Savon de marseille (for laundry / dishwashing / washing hands)
Glass sprayer bottle (for white vinegar)
1 dozen drying / tea towels (replaces potholders and drying rack)

From left to right, the food preparation zone (window to cooktop), cooking zone (cooktop / oven), food serving zone (cooktop to sink), cleanup zone (sink area), and food storage zone (refrigerator, in recessed wall, not pictured). 

For parties, I plan a menu so some things stay warm in the oven while others cook on the stove. At a recent dinner for 25 I had curry in the pan, mashed vitelotte in the stock pot, and fresh pasta with squash blossoms in the saucepan. In the oven, salmon and chicken in glass dishes, and roasted vegetables on the baking tray (I made tartare, but all you need is a bowl for that). We served salad in the stoneware bowl, bulk chips in the metal bowl, charcuterie and cheese on the cutting board, and olives, almonds, and vegetable sticks in Weck jars.

We're the only people on the Rive Gauche without a tea kettle, but beyond that, these are all the basics a Parisian couple might need. Microwaves and dishwashers aren't ubiquitous like in the US- though their popularity is growing- and refrigerators are smaller. To reduce waste, use silicone muffin pans and macaron mats instead of disposable paper liners (silicone may not align with your values- click here to learn more). No crock pot? Bring food to temperature, wrap in a wool blanket, and stick in a covered woven basket to slow-cook sans electricity (I use my shopping cart). Click here to see how I organized our apartment, here for my pantry contents, and here for a master grocery list

Paris to Go


  1. Revisiting this post again, I'm inspired to pack up extraneous kitchen stuff...I'd be curious to know where your oven safe dishes come from?

    1. Hi Emilie! I got half at Goodwill in and the other half at TJ Maxx in the US. They are by Il Mulino? I have no idea what that brand is. They bake very well, I made a pizza on one the other night.

      These are the exact plates: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Square-Stoneware-Dinner-Plates-Set-Of-4-IL-Mulino-New-York-Nice-New-/301178590819

      The price is too high on that auction, though. I got these ten plates three years ago for $8.

  2. I noticed they don't specify "oven safe"...does that mean they're still ok? The ones I already own are microwave and dishwasher safe, so if they're all right, I'd love to know, I'll just keep them! Thanks for your prompt answer, btw.

    1. I'm not sure. Mine say oven safe on the bottom of the plate. I thought stoneware was oven safe, ceramics too, since they're fired at much hotter temperatures. I bake things in glass jars all the time with no problems... but I've heard some horror stories about cracking even "oven safe" plates while baking. Maybe, if you're willing to risk it, try placing them in the oven on a cookie sheet first? I don't bake my plates over 350 degrees F.

      This forum seems to have several threads on the topic:

  3. Where are those wire shelving units from? I'm looking all over for them!!

    1. Hi Charise, they are the Nkuku locker room shelves in white and grey: https://www.nkuku.com/product/locker-room-shelf-white?variant=LR2311
      You can buy them in Paris at La Tresorerie.

    2. oh shucks! I'm in the US - can't seem to find anything like it here :( They would work so well in my kitchen. Bummmmmmerrrrr. Love your blog. The Marseille soap has changed my life!

  4. I don't know if you have ever used a butterfly can opener but I really love them. They take up a very small amount of space, are great for travel, and are effective at opening cans. After my first really nice Cuisinart manual can opener died (how is that possible?), I bought a cheaper one but it took up so much space in my small kitchen that I kept looking for a better alternative. I've put the link below for one made in France (it appears to be of all metal construction).

    Rachel F.

    1. That's the kind we have! Not the same brand but the same idea. I love them too. I don't use it very often but it's good to have in case of emergencies.

  5. In a few productions, Le Crueset cookware has been appraised as the best enameled cast iron cookware available today. stainless cookware set