The following is an excerpt from an interview with Sara Moulton:
Q: How would you say that your new cookbook differs from so many other quick-cooking ones out there in stores?
A: I’ve always had one job or three, but I’ve also always had dinner at home at least three times a week with my family. I tried to think of my own tricks. When I worked in restaurants, you have to have your mise en place, all your little bowls of ingredients all prepped ahead of time, because you are making one dish at a time. But at home, I was chopping an onion while heating the pan. Or I was chopping garlic while that onion was cooking. In this book, I dispense with mise en place except for Asian recipes. I take advantage of simmering or searing time to tackle the next step. And if you need to, you can just pull the pan off the stove while you chop the next thing you need. Why do it all ahead of time? It’s a waste of time.
I've always felt guilty for not having good mise en place. And, admittedly, it has bitten me on the ass a few times as I've forgotten to add an ingredient or gotten the onions a tad too dark while chopping up some other ingredient. But, for the most part, I cook and bake as I go, and it usually works out well. I hate the thought of dirtying up many bowls and taking up a lot of time when, as Sara says, you can often do a task while waiting on another part of the project to finish.
Now if anyone questions my lack of mise en place I can say: If it's good enough for Sara Moulton, it's good enough for me.