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The Battle of the Prep Bowls.....whaddya pick

chefwong Nov 7, 2013 02:05 PM

My current prep bowls is mix of SS and small glass ones. The glass ones are my mise en place, and my SS bowls is a hodgepodge of some Rosle SS bowls as well as 2 very old 2 qt Mixing Bowls from a stand mixer of some sorts.

Fast forward today. I did not pickup new Rosles as they are made in PRC and not worth the $ they ask for. They nest/stack well but they also have a slight sharp lip to them.

Picked up Cusipro Definitive SS Bowl- did not nest well at all, and 2 of them showed slight rusting overnight after washing them. Returned them...

I then ordered another set of Amazon. Tovlos. They seem okay. Nest well. Appears possibly to be made in the same cookie cutter factory as Cusipros Possibly. AKA - Both made in India. One bowl showed a slight rust spot. I ran steel wool over it, washed it....it has not come back.

Then I came across another BOWL. It's a bit different than all prep bowls I've used in that the bowls are wide and lower. SPACE hogs on the shelf, price is reasonable + it's Made in Germany, which is a ++++ in my book.

Weight for weight, the 3 qt German one is Heavier than the Tovolo one. Which = more steel.

CH. Whaddya say
I can't seem to choose between the 2.
I guess I'm a bit thrown off by how wide these bowls are.....
Some pics.

  1. c oliver Nov 7, 2013 02:41 PM

    I'm curious if you're quite young or new to cooking. I can't imagine having to buy such things. I have so many, many bowls that can be used for prepping everything under the sun. Maybe things that were once part of a set, i.e., a single Pyrex bowl, a pottery bowl that I picked up at a yard sale, all sorts of serving bowls, big and small, old and not so old. I do have a little set of Pyrex bowls (the itty bitty ones). I can "mise en place" countless ingredients and never come close to using everything. That's just me though.

    2 Replies
    1. re: c oliver
      DuffyH Nov 8, 2013 09:36 PM

      Can't speak for the OP, but I've never had any truly small bowls and about 5 years ago I grew weary of cobbled-together mise en place (a tablespoon of tomato sauce in a cereal bowl? Seriously?) so bought a whole mess of Duralux bowls in 2, 4 and 8oz sizes. Didn't cost a fortune, either.

      Last year I decided I wanted some steel mixing bowls because my ceramics were old, wearing out and heavy. After scouring all kinds of thrifts, yard sales and such, I finally found my bowls on Amazon this year. The tiny-to-huge, low, wide nesting type.

      Between the two purchases I think I paid ~$60, not bad. More importantly, I finally have the right tool for the job. Yay!

      1. re: c oliver
        CindyJ 1 day ago

        I've got a stash of those small Pyrex ramekins that I sometimes use for mise en place, but I've started using 3-ounce and 6-ounce cheapo paper cups for holding relatively small amounts of lots of different ingredients, like when I'm doing Asian or Indian cooking. Just use 'em and toss 'em.

      2. c
        chefwong Nov 7, 2013 02:46 PM

        Part of it is replacing more heavier glass/ceramics, , etc with lighter weight SS for the wifey, who's arthritic hands would benefit from having more SS bowls around. We both still love to cook - but she's had one or 2 mishaps lately with the heavier bowls, removing them...

        1 Reply
        1. re: chefwong
          c oliver Nov 7, 2013 02:47 PM

          Poor her. At 66 I'm still hanging in there alright in that regard. Perhaps she should be the one deciding then.

        2. s
          sheiladeedee Nov 7, 2013 03:03 PM

          In my kitchen currently are a lot of stainless steel bowls, shallow, stacking, in graduated sizes, which I got on the web from a restaurant supply place, very inexpensive so I got 3 each of the larger ones and 10 of the smaller ones, which I use for ingredients as I go. Then I have larger ceramic bowls, quite heavy, for doughs and other heavy jobs. They range from 6" to 14". I am looking for a 16" vintage bowl to match the set, but haven't found it yet in my price range. I was thinking about getting some of those stainless bowls with the silicone bottoms, but find that a damp towel does an adequate job of holding the bowl firm, as does one of the big silicone potholder/trivets.

          1. k
            Kleraudio Nov 7, 2013 08:40 PM

            I've got the OXO stainless bowls. They nest really well and have a tacky bottom which is awesome. That was the selling point for me. Nothing worse than a bowl sliding around on you when you're trying to work!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Kleraudio
              TeRReT Nov 7, 2013 08:41 PM

              wet dishcloth or paper towel or silicon pot holder or no-slip mats used in the bottom of cupboards from the dollar store solve the sliding issue for any bowl/cutting board

              1. re: TeRReT
                c oliver Nov 7, 2013 08:56 PM

                Totally agree with all those solutions. Why buy something "special" when there are easy ways to deal with something?

                1. re: c oliver
                  Kleraudio Nov 7, 2013 08:59 PM

                  Yes, very true. I need a few more bowls too. I think I'll go that route :)

            2. TeRReT Nov 7, 2013 08:42 PM

              $3 restaurant supply bowls at my parents house is what I used to use, now I have room for only 1 plastic bowl and it makes life a challenge.

              1 Reply
              1. re: TeRReT
                pine time Nov 9, 2013 12:30 PM

                I know it's not a contest, but I got even cheaper ones for mise en place: 2 sets of 4 plastic small (quite small for 1 set, quite quite small for the 2nd set) bowls for 99 cents/set. Bought 2 sets, and I'm happily mise-ing.

                I also have a hodge-podge of old Pyrex and SS bowls from a variety of decades--works fine.

                Kinda reminds me of the $20 Rachel Ray "garbage bowl."

              2. s
                sr44 Nov 7, 2013 09:19 PM

                I've taken advantage of local craft shows and acquired a lot of small bowls that way. This includes an exquisite set of nested bowls from teeny to somewhat larger. They are a bit better as servers when needed.

                1. k
                  kimbers324 Nov 7, 2013 10:03 PM

                  I just use ramekins.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kimbers324
                    c oliver Nov 9, 2013 06:07 PM

                    That's a good point. I have SO many bowls that I may serve snacks in. If I need a lot of mise en place I can turn to those also.

                  2. b
                    brooktroutchaser 1 day ago

                    At the Dollar store buy paper coffee filters. 250 for a buck. Great prep bowls for herbs, small dices, and such. Easy cleanup.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: brooktroutchaser
                      escondido123 1 day ago

                      What a great idea!

                      1. re: escondido123
                        c oliver 1 day ago

                        Great idea but not real environmentally friendly :(

                        1. re: c oliver
                          pedalfaster 1 day ago

                          I was thinking if the filters were "unbleached" they could be tossed in the compost too?

                          The "environmental friendly" aspect reminds me of a conversation I had with my farm-raised SIL years ago. She was Texas- reared with well water and septic systems.

                          One day I (city-raised) was rinsing out jars to go into the recycling bin. She gasped "Oh my!. I could never waste so much water!". Interesting perspective..and made me think a bit that what could be considered "green" in one environment could be considered extremely wasteful in another.

                          1. re: c oliver
                            CindyJ 1 day ago

                            But using disposables saves water and energy for heating the water for dish washing.

                            1. re: CindyJ
                              c oliver 1 day ago

                              Here's a not overly technical article:


                              @pedal - I've lived on municipal water/sewer as well as well/septic. My water usage never changed. I'm not sure what your SIL meant.

                              1. re: c oliver
                                CindyJ about 15 hours ago

                                The points in that article are well-taken, but there's also the savings of time and effort on my part when disposables are used. While that doesn't factor into the "green" equation, for me it often tips the balance in favor of convenience.

                                1. re: CindyJ
                                  c oliver about 13 hours ago

                                  As has been mentioned, I frequently 'do' mise en place on a single large cutting board or combine multiple ingredients that will all cook together in one bigger bowl. The rest are various size bowls that then go into the DW. FAST :) When the differences are small, I also almost err on the side of Mother Earth!

                      2. j
                        JustCharlie 1 day ago

                        As a general rule, glass is problematic in a busy kitchen. One goes bang, you've got dinner party guests seated at a beautiful table, you can't account for every shard of glass. Ethical dilemma comes to mind.

                        Get the heavy stainless. I'd go with the German stuff.

                        Because mise en place separates serious home cooks from the pikers, you practically can't have too many prep bowls regardless of assertions otherwise.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: JustCharlie
                          sueatmo 1 day ago

                          I use the Pyrex glass "prepware" measuring cups for mixing. I have the 8 cup http://www.shopworldkitchen.com/bakew...
                          and a 4 cup, along with various Pyrex glass 1 and 2 cup measuring vessels. I seldom need more, but I suppose an extra 4 cup might be handy.

                          I replace these from time to time, but have never had breakage, although I have had chips in a very old piece once. I use these in the micro, but never, ever in any other heat. I don't bake in Pyrex, in other words. But I find these vessels very handy, and they have been my choice for a couple of decades, if not longer.

                          1. re: sueatmo
                            JustCharlie 1 day ago

                            Surely, you're not suggesting using an array of Pyrex brand glass measuring cups for all of one's mise en place needs.. are you?

                        2. j
                          josephnl 1 day ago

                          I have a stack of Pyrex custard cups in 2 sizes which work perfectly for most mis en place. I also have a set of four or five nested Pyrex bowls for larger amounts. Never even thought of getting anything fancier. These are cheap, functional and get thrown into the dishwasher.

                          1. m
                            Muddirtt about 17 hours ago

                            Looks exactly like some of the Walmart-special bowls I use. Never had any rust issues and they've been abused, yet still in great shape. Sometimes dirty water will sit in them for one or two days on the counter, and still not one rust issue.

                            As for the winner? A tie. Stainless bowls are a needed redundancy and each are for different purposes. If I had to choose though, I like the one on the right that takes up less counter space -- And it's easier to clean in the sink -- And it's less prone to outside splattering with a whisk -- Pretty much a perfect bowl although it is a bit top-heavy if mise en place some oblong boned meat, for example.

                            For smaller mise en place use with spices, stainless steel condiment cups are great also.

                            I despise glass and ceramics for most uses, but not all. I'm half tempted to purchase some quality enameled steel plates and bowls for daily eating use. I still need to do some more thinking on that, lol (chipping and rust concerns). Glass and ceramics are disposable after time WHEN they DO break, eventually causing a mismatched collection, and the ones that have good heat retention are so damn heavy and thick.

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