I have a bowl problem! There, I said it! Whew — it’s good to get it out!
While most people gather things like art, books, or collectibles, I’m attracted to, well… bowls. Yeah, I know. I can be odd like that. Oh, it’s not an aggressive seeking – not even conscious and often disguised as necessity, but I’m drawn to them just the same.
I like to be happy in my kitchen. Because cooking and everything that goes with it is WAAYY down on my list of favorites, I think I tend to create an environment dotted with “things” that help to make the task a much more pleasant undertaking. (Undertaking/death – see the correlation here? That’s how much I love cooking.) Anyway, I digress.
Most all of my bowls have a story behind them and, in the end, because I am a true lover of all things vintage, antique, or possessing of a tale, it would only make sense that their presence in my kitchen makes me smile.
Mixing bowls are a necessity – the utilitarian workhorses of the food prep area. Everyone has them, but, well, maybe not as many as some. I have quite a few. Surprise!
My white ironstone is my largest. (except for a gihumongous stainless steel puppy down in storage that’s only good for bathing small children or very large cabbages) The ironstone is not an antique, but looks like one and I love it! It also weighs a TON – as in almost-impossible-to-lift-when-filled kind of thing. This bowl can hold six loaves of bread and all the trims for stuffing a 28 lb. Thanksgiving turkey, enough tortellini salad to feed our very large family reunion, several pecks of Winesap apples just waiting for apple butter, and four other nested bowls inside, because when one has as many bowls as I do, one must get creative with their storage.
Raise your hand if you DON’T have a set of metal mixers! These are grabbed when I just don’t give a rip. They get lined up like little soldiers at Christmas when I’m mixing cookie dough, covered with plastic and relegated to the porch to chill until baking time. They’re virtually indestructible and have served as drums for my toddlers, vessels for science experiments, and the occasional get-away for the turtle while his tank is being cleaned. (no worries – all sterilized prior to using for food purposes)
Enamelware – red and cream. I love these bowls, but admittedly, I don’t use them much these days except to enjoy them from the shelf on which they are displayed with the other gazillions of red and cream enamelware pieces I just HAD to have. They look so cheerful on a summer picnic table and, because they are a product of the Great Depression years, I wonder at the stories they could tell.
This set of Pyrex doesn’t live at my house, but instead with my mother. I thought they belonged here because of the memories they hold, especially the yellow one, which often held the best homemade potato salad you ever tasted!
Serving bowls are a whole different animal. Some folks use their servers for mixing, while others who have far more than they should, can afford to assign specific roles to said bowls. Pretty sure I fall into the latter category. Plus, I’ve never been willing to use a hand mixer in a glass bowl whether the manufacturer says it’s safe or not. Whatever…
(For the record, I have serving bowls out the whazoo!)
I acquired this set of red hobnail at the very same time I got my big white ironstone. (Because everyone needs four new big bowls at once, yes?) They are used constantly and are especially handy when we have guests. I love their vintage look and, since I’m in my “red phase” with regard to decorating, they fit right in. They are also the set (plus one) that permanently lives INSIDE my white ironstone.
This pretty pink set was a gift from my baby sister. She heard me say that I liked them, oh so many years ago, and gifted them as a Christmas surprise. They literally match nothing in my house except for my good china and there they are the perfect fit. The larger one holds a quadruple batch of our grandmother’s “orange stuff” recipe and the smaller, some steaming sweet potatoes. Still as pretty and pristine as the day I got them, they are especially loved.
And then there are these guys… (Am I the only one who has assigned a gender to my bowls?) A shower gift from my Great Uncle in another lifetime, I CAN NOT BELIEVE that they are still intact WITH lids. Kudos to Corning! I’m sure if there was an award for a bowl having held the most leftovers over the years, this larger one would win hands down. The little one, in particular, is often prone to wandering, requiring a search party to locate because it is THE perfect fit for a serving of the ever-nutritious ramen. In fact, I had to scour the house just to find it for these pics! (yes, I have a teen) These are the bowls that are rarely in the cupboard because they are ALWAYS in use – ALWAYS! These are the bowls that have to be purged of aforementioned leftovers before their time (and after) because they are in such demand. These are the bowls that still look good on the table after all these years and I would truly miss if something happened to them. (jinx)
Not all of my bowls are large or even practical and I think some of the prettiest are the smallest. I’m particularly partial to sets that nest – that coordinate with one another – that are seasonal or holiday specific. And so, these. I have so much fun setting out holiday tables and deciding what each bowl will be used for. Will it be a dip? Candy? Condiments? And, just so you know, I NEED a set in an Easter design and maybe Fall too.
I have a love/hate relationship with Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. I LOVE LOVE LOVE everything about her, especially her line of kitchen goods. I HATE HATE HATE that I WANT WANT WANT everything she sells! Could it be an actual disorder? It’s cool – I’m okay with it.
My first PW acquisition was the dotted red and turquoise batter bowl. It’s so bright and cheerful and has a permanent place on my counter for fruit.
This past Christmas saw the arrival of my little mini bowls and the larger set of servers in beautiful colors. The littles are absolutely adorable and are actually measuring bowls, but are perfect for dipping and sauces. They too tend to wander about the house and need to be tracked down from time to time. Both sets were a gift from my sweetie with a note stating that he would understand if I wanted to return the bigger bowls because, well, I have so many?? Umm… Nope!
I am blessed to have some special, true antiques as well. For the record, there are (lots) more stored in the hutch, but these are reachable.
I’ve always wanted a big yellow ware bowl – the size that Great-Grandma would’ve used to mix and raise bread. This is not that bowl! This is that bowl’s grandbaby – maybe even great-grandbaby – but, I adore the color and texture, chip and all. Maybe someday I and G-Grandma will find one another. Sigh…
I fell for this one in an antique shop. Probably because it still had its lid, but mostly because my own Grandma had one almost like it.
This china piece is one of my most unusual bowls and it looks so beautiful on both my Easter and Thanksgiving tables. I believe it to be hand painted and is imperfect in its shape, which makes me love it all the more.
I’ve saved the best for last.
Prepare to be awe-struck, flabbergasted, reduced to tears!
Are you ready?
HERE IT IS…
THIS BOWL! This ugly, mud brown, scutched up, never-fit-in-the-dishwasher-right, missing its bottom ring bowl! This ancient Tupperware from the Mesozoic Era bowl! This embarrassing, quick, stuff-it-under-the-sink-so-no-one-sees-it-when-they-enter-the-kitchen bowl! This truly indestructible, apparently-made-from-nuclear-fallout bowl! This so incredibly unphotogenic bowl that I can’t even improve upon it’s appearance with a lovely setting! THIS one is the bowl to end all bowls! It can take anything – and has. From an aesthetic perspective, it doesn’t even deserve a place amid the others, but it puts them all to shame in its shabbiness. It outperforms every single one of them from a utilitarian standpoint and, if I had to choose just one from the whole list, it would be this one. (she says whilst stepping from her soapbox)
I don’t know if it’s possible to learn something from a bowl, but it’s interesting to think that the most useful and needed of the lot is the one that is the simplest, most durable, older, least attractive, and strictly functional piece. Its age and appearance have nothing whatsoever to do with its purpose and maybe there’s a lesson in that after all…