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Funeral Swag: Mise-en-place.

Get it together. That’s what it means, things in place, get it together. Get your mise-en-place, get all your ingredients. I say this a lot. Mostly to myself. Blair, get it together, tighten up. Guess its the chef coming out.

Whatever you’re making, get the ingredients out. Potatoes, check, celery, check, salt, check. Things like that. If you get all your ingredients and set them on the counter, the recipe will be easier to follow, you’ll have more control and your timing will be better. That’s the theory, and from my experience, it is critical to living a happy, successful, content life and making a pot of potato soup.


See chefs like to have all their things in place. They taught me about this mise-en-place thing at Johnson and Wales’s University, yes the place Emeril went. I went to the one in Norfolk (pronounced Na-fuk).  Do you see a theme yet? Yes, I like for people to know the local pronunciation of places. Places are very important to me. That is another theme you will learn through these posts. Are places important to you? IMO, the should be. So I learned about misenplace there, but I knew about it, in my guts before I had a name for it. I’ve always kinda like to have things in their places. Maybe it’s the virgo in me….

Norfolk? How’d I end up there?  Well, I was chasing the crackhead, of course. One bad boyfriend in high school turned in to a really bad boyfriend in college. Culinary college. I headed there on a couple scholarships, one from the university and another from an insurance company, leaving me the opportunity to not live on campus, but in a townhouse, that I could not afford, with bills I had no idea how to manage, and a mother dying of brain cancer back in WV. Not really a great situation to try and get your misenpalce together. Crackheads, cancer, culinary, see, it was too much, SEE!? But it was college at the beach! And it was the year 2000. We hadn’t died in Y2K so, life seemed good. It was Virginia Beach to be exact, but this ain’t no Negril or Montego Bay beach, this VA Beach, oceanfront, no cursing, Navy yards and fighter jets. Get out of WV, go to college and live at the beach, sign me up. However, I wasn’t prepared for the prison visits and the late night crackhouse extractions of my tattoo jailbird boyfriend. But hey, misenplace, right?

When I think about misenplace and how to get it together, whether in the kitchen or real life, I think to myself, ‘what do i need?” I say, Blair!, Let’s get it all lined up. What is the order? How much the time do I have and what is my management plan, the ingredients, the method, the procedure. We’re going to put new siding on the house, ok, should we cream the butter, does it need to be at room temperature first? How long does it take to bake, what kind of screws do we need, where do we get them, are the special order? What’s the market value, per pound? I organize it all, just like that, and abracadabra, things get dun. BOOM

What is all this mumbo jumbo adding up to, you may be asking yourself. Well, it all adds up to life and death. You live, then you die. It’s not IF I die, it’s WHEN I die. Don’t ever forget that and don’t ever let that fact consume you.  Always be aware that life can be short, but life can also be long. Some days are really really long, aren’t they? I see you shaking your head yes. And then some days, they just fly by and some days things happen normally and at a comfortable pace. Until one day ka-pow, and we panic and we realize how short life can be. My advice, get your mis-en-place together. Get your will in order, make a plan for your funeral, get educated on what you can and can’t control about your life and your death.

Check out the article for this inspiration on my blog at If you are mourning the loss of a loved one please remember there are stages to grief and everyone is different, and its ok to not be OK, but not for too long…… OK!?

– Blair Campbell, HashtagWV #109. January 2019.

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