Rachael Ray's recipes generally horrify me. Her front page is currently promoting wingless buffalo chicken pizza, stay at home steakhouse dinner and breakfast for dinner. Gag.

But while our food tastes may be on opposite ends of the spectrum, the sassy magnate has taught me one of my favorite kitchen hacks: the "garbage" bowl. The idea is to place a medium sized mixing bowl next to your prep area, and as you peel garlic, chop off green onion ends and seed jalapenos you throw the waste into the bowl. This saves you many a mini trip back and forth to the garbage can/sink disposal/compost bin.

In my San Francisco and Oakland days, I disposed the bowl into the compost. In LALA land, the wise municipal composting ways have not yet arrived. While I feel guilty about throwing away perfectly good vegetable matter, I derive a bit of pleasure from the clean chopping surface and quick clean up that the garbage bowl affords.

In a way, the garbage bowl technique is to prep work as mise en place is to cooking. Having what you need at an arm's length makes cooking more efficient and more neat. It pains me to say this, but thank you Rachael Ray.