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Mixing bowl set

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Does anybody own a Sori Yanagi mixing bowl set?

Jill Sanpietro, chowhound's senior food editor, really loves the Sori Yanagi mixing bowls and recommended them in the New York Times in the article, Kitchen Gifts: What To Give a (Good) Cook.

http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/20...

But, for about $118 for 5 nesting bowls, I still don't see what's so special about them as to why they're so expensive. She praises these mixing bowls for having a "finely curled lip" but don't most mixing bowls have that same feature too?

If this mixing bowl set is popular because of how it looks, then I don't see that either; it looks like any other mixing bowl set. Does it look better up close and in person or something?

If I got this set as a wedding gift, I don't think it would have been my favorite gift.

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  1. To be brutally honest I wouldn't want those bowls at all. I have used a lot of different bowls some fancy, some expensive, some with rubber bottoms, and without fail i pull all the bowls down, set all of them aside and use my restaurant supple store bowl. Maybe because I am used to them from work, I don't know, but I love my present bowls. I have 4 of the same size, that are my primary bowls, and 2 small ones which i use from time to time and a couple larger ones which I use for salads and stuff during holidays. The 4 from the supply store cost under $20 for all 4. I find those fancy ones are sometimes oddly shaped for me, often too deep or too round and are usually pretty heavy which annoys me. I like my nice flat bottomed, nicely angled light bowls that can take a beating :P

    That said, I actually use bowls a lot, so I really do mind how they function for me. If they were more decorative or not used very often then I might not mind as much, but having 4 bowls that are the same size take up so little space, those bowls are not for me, especially not for $118.

    7 Replies
    1. re: TeRReT

      TeRReT!!!!

      Internet is so awesome to get to see you here.

      Hobbess,

      I agree with you and TeRReT. I don't see there is anything really special about these bowels. On the other hand, a set of 3 Oxo mixing bowels are $45. So the Sori Yanagi mixing bowl set are indeed expensive, but nothing like 3-4 times of its competitors.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        yes its good to be back. I am not yet settled in Japan and don't have a job and are living at my fiance's parents at the moment while i wait for my immigration card to come, but finally after a lot of paperwork i have internet here :P next, get a job, then somewhere to live, and then look at knives :P oh and i guess i have to figure out that whole wedding thing too

        1. re: TeRReT

          Wait? You are living in Japan for good? I thought you are just going there to visit.

          Anyway, did you pop the question to her parents yet? :)

          Best wish to you no matter where life takes you.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            well I am in japan for minimum one year, I have a 1 year visa at the moment, so I will need a job and stuff for that year, I want to learn the culture here more and learn the language so am staying at least a year, once we get married I can get a spouse visa so its possible to stay longer but not sure what we will do yet.

            And yes, her parents had questions concerning our future as they are concerned about her but were fine with us getting married.

            1. re: TeRReT

              :) Yeah, someday I will ask you about advises on these since I have never asked these questions. For now, have fun in Japan for a year or two. By the way, what kind of restaurants are you looking to work for? Italian or anything?

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                i'm mostly looking to work as an english teacher as I am aware of how difficult it is to get into a kitchen position here, it is a very culturaly tight nit sort of thing, but I would work in anything. Definitely I'd never get hired to work in a Japanese restaurant, but italian or anything international is possible. I do have an interview monday for an international hotel kitchen position, but its a little far from where we'd like to be, but we'll see how it goes and then i'll make decisions later.

                1. re: TeRReT

                  Speaking of trying to work in a japanese restaurant, have you tried out some trad. japanese knifes yet?

    2. I have one of these:
      http://www.ablekitchen.com/supplies/J...

      and two of these in 4 quart size:
      http://www.vollrathco.com/catalog_pro...

      The Vollrath are heavier duty but both have the lip that you can hold onto rather than the Sori Yanagi type which means fingers or thumb most likely have to go in the bowl.

      1. Hi, Hobbess:

        The Yanagis look pretty unremarkable/fungible to me. $118 will buy you FOUR 10-pc Duralex sets http://citykitchensseattle.com/monthl... And I paid less than that for a set of 3 vintage Green "Gripstand" bowls, which IMO are probably the best mixing bowls ever made.

        The California beach shop where Ms. Sanpietro sourced these is pretty much all about doing homage to modern Japanese design. If that holds intrinsic value for anyone, go for it.

        Aloha,
        Kaleo

        1. I'm certainly willing to take Ms. Sanpietro's word that they feel wonderful in one's hands, but...

          _Good_ cooks (the focus of the column) have very particular and varied requirements for mixing bowls. Unless we were in a store together and s/he admired or fondled them, I'd feel on much safer ground with a lot of other gifts a good cook would appreciate for $120.

          1. Sure, they’ll hold your cake batter as well as any, but these Sori Yanagi bowls make me feel like I do when I don a fancy gown: sexy and composed. It’s about the way it feels on or in your hand. Made of sturdy material, the bowls are surprisingly thin and sleek, with a finely curled lip that makes holding them somehow feel luxurious. I bought this pricey set (five bowls for $118 at Tortoise in Venice Beach, Calif.) for the same reason a car nut chooses to splurge on a Porsche: for the look, the feel and the ride.

            ------------------------------------------------------

            Isn't this passage the answer to your question?

            I don't think it is about the superiority of materials, but about perceived quality. The author attributes something to the objects that add value--to her.

            I use Pyrex handled bowls myself. I would never use them with heat, but Pyrex handled bowls are perfect mixing bowls--for me.

            4 Replies
            1. re: sueatmo

              But, when she makes the Porsche analogy, she also invokes the way it looks and I just don't see how Mrs. Sanpietro would see them as any more beautiful than another set of stainless steel mixing bowls. Maybe, I'm missing some detail, but they look like any other set of mixing bowl.

              It turns out that Sori Yangai was a famous Japanese designer so maybe its just me and I just don't get it. If so, if somebody has an eye for design, please point or explain what's so special or distinctive about these mixing bowls. He's probably more famous for the the design of his tea kettle, and I personally think think his tea kettles look kinda ugly and squat. But, at least, they don't look exactly the same as every other tea kettle on the market and so I could understand that some people think they look better than other tea kettles.

              Its like I would never buy the Alessi Salif Citrus Squeezer because it costs around $100 and more impotantly, its badly designed. But, at the same time, I can also see why some people might like the iconic sculptural quality of it. But, with these Sori mixing bowls, I just don't see it all.

              1. re: hobbess

                It’s about the way it feels on or in your hand. Made of sturdy material, the bowls are surprisingly thin and sleek, with a finely curled lip that makes holding them somehow feel luxurious.
                ------------------------------

                For this poster, it is about how she feels about the product. You don't "get it" because you don't have the same feeling. We attribute value to things in very personal ways. I don't really "get it" either, but its an individual thing. If she wants to spring for these bowls, well, its her money and its a free country.

                I've gone through this myself, when I was younger and I had the feeling that eventually I would have everything I wanted, that we would be infinitely prosperous, and all my kitchen dreams would come true. I might have dreamt of upscale things for my kitchen, I might have actually acquired one of these things, and then reality hits. The rest of my stuff is pretty basic, if functional, the great expensive thing isn't all that wonderful--at least in proportion to its cost to me--and then my former longing turns to a bit of regret.

                We don't have to understand everything.

                1. re: sueatmo

                  I found another Sori Yanagai mixing bowl set that I actually like this time around.

                  www.canoeonline.net/shop/inspect/yana...

                  This time around, its a mixing bowl paired with a fitted strainer so that strainer can hang perfectly on the rolled lip of the mixing bowl, thereby leaving enough space between the bowl and strainer to give room for any liquid to drain from the strainer into only the mixing bowl.

                  Does anybody else make a stainless steel mixing bowl paired with a strainer like this? It seems like such an ingenious design that so obvious after you see it.

                  1. re: hobbess

                    Hobbess' link above didn't work for me, but the Yanagi bowls with fitted strainers are here:

                    https://www.canoeonline.net/shop/insp...

            2. We have a set of stainless steel nesting bowls that we bought at Loblaws Superstore around 5 years ago. They were $6.99 on sale. There are 8 bowls in the set and we've been happy with them and we use them daily. They've really taken a beating and are still in good shape. They have the curled lip that he author of that article describes. Friends and family consider me to be a "good" cook but I definitely don't need an $118 set of mixing bowls!

              We bought 2 more very large stainless steel basins at a kitchen store a few years ago as well, for 4.99 and 5.99 each. The largest one doubles as a basin to bathe babies in. :) $118 sounds like a lot for a set of bowls.

              1. The New York Times blogger bought her bowls from a store called Tortoise and out of curiosity, I went to their website. The Sori Yanagi bowls are no longer for sale (at least not online). Call me crazy, but I ended up ordering from Tortoise another expensive Japanese mixing bowl because I like that it has a handle and I will be able to hang it up in the kitchen.

                http://www.tortoisegeneralstore.com/o...

                2 Replies
                1. re: omotosando

                  They're still selling the Sori Yanagi mixing bowls on the Tortoise website, but its for sale in the tabletop category instead of kitchen category. (On that same tabletop page, they're also selling G-Soy Sauce Pot which supposedly doesn't drip).

                  If you get a chance, you should visit their retail store in Venice, California. I remember they were also selling these vintage, handmade artisinal mugs and bowls that I don't see for sale on their website. Or, at least, I'm assuming they were handmade for the prices Tortoise were charging for them.

                  1. re: hobbess

                    Thanks -- I'll have to check out Tortoise in person.

                    My Aizawa Mixing Bowl With Handle arrived today from Tortoise and it's smaller than I expected (they sell medium and large and I got the medium) making it a really pricey indulgence for $42. But I absolutely love it. It's beautifully constructed, has a lip for pouring and I hung it right by my stove. I really love that you can hang it -- for anyone with a small kitchen it's perfect.

                    The medium bowl is actually the perfect size for making dressings. I often find myself not wanting to make dressing (which is so easy to make) because I have to dig a mixing bowl out of the deep recesses of my cabinet, so I think this is going to be just perfect for me.