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Equipment: The Best Mixing Bowls

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The way I cook, mixing bowls are almost as essential as cutting boards, knives, and pots and pans. I simply couldn't do without them—preferably in a good assortment of sizes.

For me, the ideal mixing bowl must have the following features:

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The Winner

Screen shot 2010-07-20 at 3.19.19 PM.pngThe winning bowl happily also happens to be the cheapest by far. The Stainless Mixing Bowl series from ABC Valueline comes in multiple sizes. I'd recommend the 2 quart, 3 quart, and 5 quart models as a good starting set. All told, they'll only put you back about $10 for all three of them. If you've got a good Chinese restaurant supply store nearby you, you can get cheaper, even more generic versions of these. I have about a half dozen of them. Being super thin and lightweight, they are also easy to store, since they take up virtually no extra space when you stack them. I have a little over a half dozen, which take up no more room than the single largest one does.

"But what about the features?!" you might ask. As far as I'm concerned, bowl design has been pretty much perfected.

Skid-proof bottoms are useful, but placing the bowl in a saucepot with a damp towel draped over the rim to stabilize it solves the wobbly bowl problem better than any skid-proofing I've ever come across. Skid proofing also prevents you from using the bowl as a double boiler.
Accompanying lids seem like a good idea at first, but then you realize all it means is that your bowl sits in the fridge half-filled with potato salad rather than on your shelf ready to make a vinaigrette when you need it.
Pouring spouts are a minor improvement, but largely unnecessary. If you've got a ladle and a funnel, there's nothing a spout's got on you.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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