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Prep bowls


JAZ
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Since I started assisting with, and then teaching, cooking classes, I've been a steadfast prep bowl user. I've got several types: I first bought the Luminarc set of nine stacking bowls and used the smaller five of them for prep, regularly running out of the small ones and wishing I hadn't bought the set, because I rarely use the larger ones.

Then, when my uncle passed away and we were sorting through his kitchen stuff, we found a stack of these Pyrex glass custard cups and ever since they've been what I reach for first. I've broken a few over the years, but I still have eight. They hold six ounces, so they're big enough for most jobs, but I also have four cereal bowls that I grab when I need bigger containers.

Recently, I bought this set of Le Creuset silicone pinch bowls because they were just too cute to pass up. My official reason was that it would be nice to have smaller bowls -- these hold two ounces. They also come in a graduated set that double as measuring cups, which seem very cool as well, but so far I've resisted.

Anyone else have a love affair with prep bowls? Do you use them, and if so, what do you use? A matched set? Whatever's handy?

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Every time I am at the grocery store, Whole Foods, etc, I always ask the deli clerks for a couple of extra pint deli cups. I have a small stash at home and they work great for prep storage and storing most leftovers.

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My mom had those Pyrex custard cups. They were great. I see they also make 10-oz ones; I think I might pick up a set of each.

My prep bowls now are a mixed bag of a couple different kinds of nesting stainless bowls, small ceramic ramekins, soup bowls doing double duty, a few large glass bowls, etc. ad nauseam.

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Costco had sets of stainless steel mixing bowls that came with 3 small prep bowls. I bought two sets and I use the prep bowls all the time for diced veg, minced garlic etc.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Went to the Ikea in Ottawa and picked up 12 colourful prep bowls for $4. Microwave/dishwasher safe, too - unlike melamine which seems to be everywhere.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I've got 8 tiny glass bowls (2 T each) from Ikea, which I keep right in the drawer next to the stove with my measuring spoons and whatnot. Then I've got a ton of small Japanese bowls in various sizes, up to rice bowl size, which I use for prep as well as serving. I used to have those Pyrex glass ramekins and they were great, but eventually I broke them all.

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I have a beautifully simple set of Jenaer Glas bowls but the largest broke after an apparently overly vigorous stir several weeks ago and I've been too afraid to use them ever since. Thankfully, I still have my trusty anchor hocking custard bowls with lids. I love the Mason Cash bowls, too. I have a set of 8 small pudding basins (42s size) that double as cereal bowls/prep bowls for larger amounts. The small prep sizes having been calling to me. I've resisted thus far but I can only be so strong. The Mario Batali melamine sets are very cute. I see them at Marshalls all the time. But I have so many other bowls and dishes that may be called into duty that having another single purpose set hasn't been a priority. Not to mention with my near overflowing cupboards I would have nowhere to put them.

N.

"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali
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I have some, in about 3 or 4 different sizes, that I purchased at Williams-Sonoma. The smallest ones, I have discovered, each hold 1/2 cup of lightly-packed chopped vegetables, so no more measuring now, at least when I need 1/2 cup of something.

I also have a set of Anchor-Hocking custard bowls, with plastic lids, that I keep in a secret place. :raz: When I prep a day or two ahead, they're perfect for storing chopped vegetables or premeasured liquids in the refrigerator.

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I have a set of glass pinch bowls and ramekins that I normally use. If its something bigger, I will usually just grab a stainless steel mixing bowl or even a tupperware container.

"In a perfect world, cooks who abuse fine cutlery would be locked in a pillory and pelted with McNuggets."

- Anthony Bourdain

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A few years ago, I got sick and tired of not having enough prep bowls. I would use up my 4 Anchor-Hocking custard cups (which I believe are technically called "6oz dessert bowls," product number H434U), then have to move on to a variety of inappropriately sized and poorly constructed receptacles -- everything from mixing bowls to red plastic party cups. So one day I went out and stocked up on Arcoroc stackable, break- and chip-resistant, microwave- and dishwasher-safe tempered-glass bowls. I bought 24 of them: 12 in the 5.5oz size and 4 each in 3 smaller sizes. I also bought 8 more Anchor-Hocking custard cups (I like the Anchor-Hocking ones better than the Pyrex ones because I prefer the heavier, thicker, sturdier lip of the Anchor-Hocking ones). So now when it comes time to prep I'm loaded for bear, even if I cook breakfast, lunch and dinner and don't run the dishwasher until after dinner.

The Arcoroc bowls nest very efficiently. All my Arcoroc bowls can be accommodated in two stacks in the cabinet, though I usually keep them in three stacks for easier access to a variety of sizes. Also the 5.5oz ones have plastic lids, so if you have excess of an herb or some such you can easily hold it over until a future meal without having to deal with plastic wrap or a transfer to another receptacle. They also, unexpectedly, turn out to be the ideal size for use as a child's bowl -- our son eats many of his meals out of them. While I don't watch many cooking shows, pretty much whenever I do watch one it seems they're using Arcoroc bowls.

There are a few things I do that require larger prep bowls. For example, a 5.5oz Arcoroc or 6oz Anchor-Hocking is not quite large enough to comfortably hold an egg or two for beating with a fork. It's also not quite wide enough to catch Parmesan cheese from the Microplane grater. And unless you fill it way up to the top it doesn't hold enough tomato sauce to cover a half-sheet-size pizza. For those ingredients, and others like them, I use Williams-Sonoma chili bowls. These 20oz bowls are some of the greatest items ever sold by Williams-Sonoma. You can still get them online ("Porcelain Chili Bowls, Set of 6"). They are extremely sturdy: in 14 or so years I've never managed to break one.

Anything larger than that I wouldn't really call a prep bowl, so I'll end the inventory there.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I have a collection of stainless steel bowls which started out in graduated sizes...but then I found it more convenient to have several small and medium bowls the same size rather than more in-between sizes.

Stainless steel measuring cups get good use too, because I can hang them up and grab one quickly.

One thing I started using when I came to Japan is stainless steel trays (about an inch deep), with drop-in wire trays. I use these extensively for lining up prepped vegetables, marinading or flouring meat, draining fried food or cooling boiled food...they stack flat, and being rectangular, they make it super-easy to keep items in rows, easy to pick up for the next step.

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If you can find a Corning "factory-outlet" store, look for the small deep bowls and the small shallow bowls which are very inexpensive.

Wal-Mart carries them and occasionally a color or pattern is discontinued and they sell the "open stock" stuff cheap!

The stuff is tough. I have had them fall off the counter and bounce across the floor with nary a chip.

I jerked a dishtowel off the counter and had one that was hiding inside, fly across the kitchen, hit the tile backsplash behind the cooktop, careen off the cooktop and slide down the counter until it spun to a stop.

I have lots of little bowls, old and not so old, including stacks of Tupperware from the days when I lived next door to a dealer and was "paid" for helping host parties, in merch.

They also seem to be indestructible. Except for the ones destroyed by puppies while teething.

I bought some of the little silicone "pinch" bowls but they are too small for most stuff.

For spices and stuff I use egg cups. I have a lot of egg cups. I don't mind losing a few which sometimes happens when I toss them into the sink and they miss the bottom liner, or I don't get them properly fastened down in the dishwasher and they get blown out of the tray.

If you want cute and colorful, check out Pier One or Cost Plus World Market. They have some that you won't see anywhere else.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Anyone else have a love affair with prep bowls? Do you use them, and if so, what do you use? A matched set? Whatever's handy?

I have a drawer full of them, and I use them regularly. I have some that are custard cups, but the majority of them I get from the dollar store. Dollar Tree has them regularly in the really small size, and also in a size up. I think the smallest ones are 4/$1. The next size up comes 3/$1. They are the same little glass bowls that you see regularly used for prep bowls.

Christine

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. . .

One thing I started using when I came to Japan is stainless steel trays (about an inch deep), with drop-in wire  trays. I use these extensively for lining up prepped vegetables, marinading or flouring meat, draining fried food or cooling boiled food...they stack flat, and being rectangular, they make it super-easy to keep items in rows, easy to pick up for the next step.

Now those are what I would consider ideal prep bowls! I haven't seen any like that in Canada but I will certainly be on the lookout for something similar.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Mostly the 300 ml Pyrex bowls; have maybe two dozen.

Then, in stainless steel, have 5, 3, and 2 quart sizes and some at various sizes under two quarts. Yes, I regard these as 'prep' bowls, e.g., for 2 pounds or so of prepped onions, green peppers, or mushrooms.

For more, I've kept some plastic containers food came in.

And curiously useful, kept from 20 or so years ago some 'plates' that frozen TV dinners came on. Got those before eG! They are maybe a kind of paper covered with plastic; they've lasted all these years. Use them for prep and also in the microwave.

Edited by project (log)

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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I keep 2 of the many pyrex custard cups I own front and center in the cupboard. They do most of the prep work, cause I tend to chop as I cook for a lot of things, so the cutting board often holds my mess in place.

I have a little stack of stainless timbal cups right next to the espresso shot cups that can be pressed into service for weighing liquids when making chocolate centers.

I have 2 small and two large corelle rice bowls, then a stack of large and larger corelle sering bowls - great for holding stuff for a stir fry.

There is a stack of a dozen or more stainless bowls of differing sizes, then another stack of about 6 straight sided stainless bowls - small to huge.

Then there are the pyrex measuring cups - 2 X 8 cup, 1 X 4 cup, 3 X 2 cup and 3 X 1 cup.

If I'm making something with lots of prep required I've got more bowls than dishwasher space to wash them.

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I use little pudding cups that I got from Pastel . I use both the disposable plastic ones (seen the top picture), and the ceramic custard-cup style (in the bottom picture). The ceramic ones are PsITA to store because they don't really stack, but they're cute and they were free. Well, sort of free. I paid for the pudding that came in them!

I also use styrofoam-like meat trays. I have to wash them before they get recycled, anyway, so I just keep reusing them until I feel like taking them to the grocery store for recycling.

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I love my silicone pinch bowls and measuring cups

http://www.amazon.com/Progressive-Micro-Si...l/dp/B0000E2GY4

http://www.amazon.com/Progressive-Internat...7387003-6770302

I should get silicone prep bowls, since I love how they bend and move

But I have two sets of Mario batali type prep bowls (not specifically those, Marshall's has great prices on these type prep bowls) And then for anything larger, I use melanime bowls.

I love all of them, especially when I have so many dishes going at once, it is nice to have everything ready to go, I definitely fit in the obsession mold for prep bowls.

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I use a set of glass bowls I got at Williams Sonoma. When I bought mine, I got six in one size that holds about a cup.

glass prep bowls

Those are insanely great. I also have the Mario Batali bowls, two sets, and I like them for cooking when measurements don't have to be exact.

I use my Chantal ramekins sometimes. I have 12 of those!

I have some nested melamine mixing bowls from Pottery Barn and I use Mr. Tiny for spices.

For liquids (a teaspoon of vanilla, for instance) I have two tiny measuring beakers.

I got mine at antique stores but you can get a measuring shot glass at King Arthur.

measuring shot

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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Usually I use Chinese rice bowls. I have lots of them, they're the perfect size for small amounts of chopped veggies and herbs, they're cheap enough so I don't cry if they break.

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I use 8 and 4 ounce plastic containers. The ones you get when you buy sour cream or yogurt. My dad likes those premade custard and Jello things and I have to say they are nice to use. When you don't feel like cleaning them you can just toss them cause I know I'm going to get more.

"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

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