“ Brand: Viners / Product Type: Bowl „
~All the gear but no idea~
I have a weakness for kitchen equipment, perhaps in the deluded idea that if I've got all the gear, delicious meals with somehow create themselves almost by magic. I'd built up a great collection of really good pans, got all the electrical 'stuff' I could think off but I'd identified a gap in the cupboards - a gap that could only be filled with a set of bowls. I periodically have a big cook up weekend when I wreck the kitchen and churn out a mass of different dishes to fill up the freezer. I soon came to realise that I was doing a real 'make do and mend' when it came to needing bowls - I had just one small blue and white striped one that came from my grandmother and was OK for making scrambled egg but not much more. During a big cook up I'd empty the cupboards of all sorts of inappropriate items that were big enough for putting things in - mixing jugs filled with tomatoes, casserole dishes commandeered for soaking beans and lentils, even the odd fruit bowl or washing up bowl full of soaking dried mushrooms. It was time for a change - I wanted bowls and I was determined to have them.
~Pretty in Pink~
My friend Gill and I regularly meet up for dinner at Cheshire Oaks Outlet Centre near Chester and we generally end up wandering round a few of the shops. My particular weakness is for the Viners shop which has been the source of most of my good kitchen gear. I indulge my passion for brightly coloured heat resistant silicone rubber items but on one particular visit I fell for the three piece melamine mixing bowl set which was on special offer. I believe I paid about £12 for the three bowls and didn't give too much thought to what I was buying or why. They were pink, they came in three sizes, the manufacturers made a donation to Breast Cancer Research - as the Americans would say, what's not to love?
I wasn't too sure why they were a funny shape but Gill explained that mixing bowls shouldn't be perfectly symmetrical. You should be able to tuck them under your elbow and beat the heck out of whatever's in them and then use the longer side to pour out the batter (or whatever) you've just been mixing. Or get your grandma's old hand mixer out and zap a Yorkshire pudding batter for Sunday lunch. She also pointed out that they had funny bottoms (so to speak) designed to be stable when standing at an angle. I nodded, pretended I was listening and I bought them. Like I said, they were pink, there were three of them, I was in love.
~Nigella has nothing to worry about~
I've been cooking like a demon at the weekends for the last few months and my bowls have been out in action on a regular basis. It's nice to have stuff on your counters that isn't ugly and dull and the Viners bowls brighten up the kitchen. The three sizes cover one litre, two litre and four litre capacities. Even the smallest is a good enough size to be useful so there's nothing titchy that just gathers dust at the back of the cupboard - every bowl is useful and every bowl gets plenty of action - although I have to admit that it's rarely for proper mixing. I don't make cakes, I don't make quiches or other runny stuff so I am missing out on some of the functionality of these bowls but I love them none the less. They nest together neatly to avoid taking up too much cupboard space and so far they look as good as new. I have no reason to suppose that will change and my pink three-piece does seem to be the perfect well-behaved kitchen companion.
Last weekend I had a pound of chick peas soaking over-night in the mid sized bowl, several pounds of tomatoes sitting in boiling water in the large one ready for peeling and a mound of chopped onions sitting in the little one, waiting to be used. You can be forgiven for thinking this was a real waste of a bunch of heavily specified carefully designed mixing bowls. In short, I wasn't actually mixing in my mixing bowls - I was just putting stuff in them. I decided to make some falafels, zapping everything in my Russell Hobbs chopper which doesn't have enough power to blend all the ingredients in its bowl. I could have got the food processor out and done it properly but I rather enjoyed turning the bowl onto an angle, readjusting it when it rolled round and trying again, sitting on it's non-slip foot and getting my hand in to squish everything together. Again, not exactly making cakes or Yorkshire puddings but mixing of a type.
~A Bowl for all occasions~
I use the little one for scrambled eggs and the elongated lip on one side helps to direct the egg evenly into the frying pan especially when helped by a nice silicone rubber spatula. I've mashed potatoes in the big one, placing it at an angled to really get round the whole bowl when mashing without sending the bowl skidding across the counter. I'm no Jamie Oliver but so far I'm not starving.
I'm oddly entranced by their asymmetric design and charmed by the colour. They're made of melamine and will happily go into the dishwasher and come out smiling. They'll take a lot of knocks. I can't claim to really fully understand what I've got but my days of mix and match make do and mend kitchen bowls is over. It takes quite a lot to get me fired up and into the kitchen but nice gear helps a lot and my pink bowls make me smile and stop my kitchen looking quite so much like a jumble sale. I may be clueless but at least my bowls look like THEY know what they're doing.
The bowls are available in Viners stores or from their website with a list price of £22 for the set (£1.10 goes to breast cancer research). They are also available on amazon at the same price.