Mise en Place
If you are in the growing minority, or shrinking majority, of folks who cook from scratch on a regular basis, you know from keeping your ducks in a row. "Everything in [it's] place" so to speak. Or, as those French would characteristically put it with their usual panache and elan, "Mise en Place". That is, for you less travelled types, just a quick way of saying that you got all your preparations at hand and ready to go.
Now that you can thank Your Cooky Cat for the education and elucidation, here's what we're really talking about.
If you are a scratch cook and put more than three ingredients into a dish, you'll need to put them somewhere for when they're ready to go into the pot or pan. For large quantities of things, of course, a plate or a bowl will do. But for smalls, like spices and garnishes, little chopped bits, you will need something small where to put those until such time as it is needed.
Look no further. Just go down to your local Indian store and get a bunch of katori bowls. A buck or so a pop. And they come in various sizes, so they nest.
Katori are those thin stainless steel bowls used in the Indian cuisine for Thali. And, Thali is like a sampler platter of many different savories and sweets all put together in a large stainless round tray. It is named after the serving tray itself, the thali; meaning "meal plate".
Now, try and tell us that doesn't look good!
At first we confused Kotari with Tiffen. As Your Cooky Cat assiduously researches all his posting, you can be assured that he is swift to correct the error of his ways. And . . . to confess, as well.
On Tiffin, a picture will get you into the subject . . .
Sort of looks like katori, so you can see our confusion. But Tiffin are stacking sets of bowls for the various things you would want to take for lunch. In India we learned how the Tiffin Wallahs will regularly take Tiffin from the local home town and travel, sometimes by train, and deliver the hot lunches to the place of work. The deal is they somehow manage to keep things straight and any one Tiffin Wallah can handle several, each delivered promptly to a different destination.
PS . . . Somewhere shrouded in the mists of prerecorded history and handed down orally for these many countless generations is the old adage, "Too much 'Tiffen' and you got a 'Tefillin'". Probably a derivative of the even earlier, "Too much 'Tiffin' [on you mind], you must have 'Tefillin' [on]".
You say, "Where do you dig up such stuff, Mr. Cooky Cat?" Well, we scratched around and it was written on a stone somewhere in a sandy place. You know from the time when cats were worshipped. Not that I would want you to do that. But you can, if you want. I won't mind. Won't pay any attention in fact. Your Cooky Cat is a modern cat, after all