A Look Behind my Cabinets: Spotlight on the Mixing Bowl
Updated: Jul 27
You see, I had been very attached to my metal bowls for years before I pared my collection down to just one. That's right, I am now the proud owner of a single 4-quart bowl in my kitchen. But I get it, I've been there with the nesting set of bowls that I schlepped on countless moves fearing that I could not possibly live without each one. After all, mixing bowls are always sold to you in sets of at least four so why would you need anything less than that? Buying one bowl at a time would be more expensive, in fact.
I've spent a good portion of my working years in food establishments where a simple metal bowl was deemed essential for mixing ingredients like granola (that required the hugest of bowls!) to tossing a salad at the moment of service to laying out all the prepped ingredients for a dish. So many bowls and oh so many dishes to wash! This proved most troublesome while working in the confines of a food truck because frankly, it was easier to just grab a new bowl each time and then later tackle the massive dish pile-up.
But we're not talking about commercial kitchens here, we're talking about your home kitchen and how best to optimize the number of tools that you use on a daily basis. I invite you to think how it would feel to just have one bowl and to use it lovingly and often. No longer having to decide on the right one, it becomes a simple process that frees up other space in your mind. If you do need a tiny bowl for example, why not reach for a bowl from your dishware set to help you out? When I made the decision to focus on one bowl (this is the one I own but be sure to look for it in your local kitchen supply or thrift store.) I also told myself that if I really did need another to keep it company, I wouldn't hold back. So far, I haven't.
I put together a list of ideas on how to multi-use that single metal bowl:
1) Bring it out to your garden to collect fruit, veggies, or herbs. My yard was overgrowing with pesky dandelion "weeds", so I often went out and snipped the leaves to use as nutritious salad bases.
2) Give your produce a bath! Fill up a bowl with cold water and separately submerge your veggies and greens, swirling around as the dirt falls to the bottom. So satisfying. Repeat this 2-3 times, drain the water, and then lay the veggies on a dish towel to air dry.
3) Build your salad dressing right into the bottom of the bowl (just enough for that portion), add the ingredients, and toss together with your hands or tongs. Serve (or eat!) right out of the bowl to reduce the dish load. Being light and unbreakable, it's also the perfect vessel for a potluck or picnic.
4) Pack it in your large purse - Mary Poppins style - and transfer your movie theater popcorn right into it to share with a date. Speaking from experience (yes, and I actually brought my homemade kettlecorn popcorn too...shh), it'll either freak them out or win them over. In my case, that cute date is now my wife and she loves my quirks :)
5) Create an ice bath and use it to stop cooking anything that you boil or blanch, like veggies or eggs. For bright greens, shocking them will retain that color - no more sad and faded look. It's actually a trick to make the greenest Italian pesto. Alternatively, use a cool water bath to slowly defrost packaged meat and fish.
6) Turn it over and voila, it's a lid! Perfect for steaming veggies, finishing an frittata, or heating up a tamale. The bowl will be hot so handle carefully.
7) Gently melt chocolate pieces in a bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water to make easy chocolate bark. Recipe coming soon!
8) Seek out one-bowl baking recipes. I find it satisfying to add one ingredient at a time and watch the batter come together with nothing more than a fork or spatula. No need for a mixer or dish duty.
9) Relax with a face steam. Add a couple sprigs of rosemary to your bowl, fill 1/3 of the way with boiling water and cover your head with a towel. Inhale the healing aromas and you'll feel your body instantly relax. Remember, the bowl will be piping hot so don't burst your zen state by touching it!
Any other uses you can think of for our humble friend, the metal bowl? I hope this list provides you with some inspiration to think outside the box when it comes to kitchen essentials. Look out for the next "Look Behind My Cabinet" post to see what I will spotlight next! Hint: it's a versatile ingredient that spills over into my bathroom as well.