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The bowl is nothing new—some might call it pedestrian. You might be wondering how we've even written a whole post on the bowl. But when talking with Trudy Crane, who created the exclusive homemade porcelain salad bowl for our Shop, she mentioned: "Each bowl has its own feeling and personality." It made us realize just how many meals we eat from the vessel—it might be the majority: It hugs our food and keeps it safe as we take our meal to the table, desk, couch (or in bed). Beyond the expected soups and cereal, the bowl can be a home for grains, smoothies, vegetables, and not sad desk lunches. It’s versatile—unassumingly so. We almost forgot about plates. Here are five more reasons why the bowl deserves some glory:
1. There's a shape for every purpose.
Right now, we love eating out of shallow bowls that just barely cradle our food, but of course the shapes and sizes of bowls are endless. When Trudy was creating the homemade porcelain salad bowl for our Shop, she went through many prototypes trying to find just the right size: “The perfect bowl size, for me, serves two to four people—it’s not too small or too big. I finally found the ideal size for the everyday salad bowl. And while each bowl has its own feeling and personality because it’s hand cast, it’s always the perfect size for everyday.”
Trudy crafting our exclusive salad bowls.
2. Bowls make comfort food even cozier.
Nigel Slater said that food in a bowl is the ultimate comfort food: “There is something right about food in a bowl. The hot liquor on your spoon; the warmth of the bowl in your hands; the final scraping of spoon against china—they enable us to feel closer to what we eat.” So cozy up with your bowl—take it to the couch, and the chances of food ending up on your lap are slightly less than if you ate off a plate.
3. Bowls make your food look good.
Because bowls have sides that get close to the food, they’re pretty unavoidable in photographs or on a dinner table—unlike the edges on a plate, which can recede into the background. Luckily, they oftentimes serve as a little props for your food so it's nicely situated. For example, make a fruit salad and all the flavors can muddle together in the closeness of the bowl. Or, make a salad of roasted and raw vegetables, cheese, fruit, and nuts and all the components won't run astray, as they might on a plate. (Bonus: White bowls hardly ever clash with your food. See the multi-colored and monochromatic salads above and below; they both look pretty nice, don't they?)
4. Bowl foods travel.
With a little advanced planning, bowl foods can be as simple as grabbing a couple odds and ends from the refrigerator. Often, it’s because the foods that work well in bowls—grains, cooked vegetables, dressing or sauces—hold up for a few days. Throw a variety of these foods, which have already been cut into bite-size pieces, in a bowl or storage container, then eat them all mixed together with just a spoon or a fork. You don't even need to remember a knife. In Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon, Sara Forte writes “bowl [foods] are the workhorses of weekday lunches in our house—dishes I keep in the fridge so anyone can grab something when they’re hungry…[and] the reason I got hooked on ‘bowl foods’ in the first place.” In other words, bowl foods are the ultimate not sad desk lunch, something to ease into on a busy day.
5. Family-style is fun—and possible—with a bowl.
Possibly its most obvious feat, bowls can hold a lot of stuff. Bring a big bowl of vegetables, salad, pasta, grains, stew, or some such to the table, and let everyone dive in. It’s convivial and homey—and less hassle for the cook.
Are you enamored with the bowl too? Tell us why in the comments!
First, fourth, and fifth images by Bobbi Lin; second and third images by Chloé Crane-Leroux; last image by James Ransom.