Two kitchen essentials that are sometimes overlooked are bowl and cutting boards. I’ve had days where 5 of my boards have seen use, same for the bowls. Multi-course meals, complex recipes, or just a lot of food for the family will be more easily handled if you have the best tools in your cabinet.
Bowls and Cutting boards each have two styles that have some different purposes. For bowls, stainless steel is your workhorse material. Glass is valuable because it is completely non-reactive and it is microwave safe. Cutting boards offer two main choices, plastic or wood. Each requires different care and has different strengths. We take our experience in home and commercial kitchens and sort out the best choices for you in each category.
Sometimes the classic items are actually the best. Still made in the USA and populating American kitchens for decades, Pyrex is the approachable high standard in glass bowls. This set of three will fit most microwaves, have gently sloped sides for whisking and mixing with a heavy rim to grip when hot or cold. Sturdy and functional, these are an easy first choice for value and usability.
You can find cheaper versions of this type of nesting bowl set, but the Duralex name brings two aspects of value worth paying for. Their tempered glass is known for sturdiness and longevity. I personally had a set last a couple decades with only one bowl getting broken. More importantly for many people, the bowls are surprisingly light for glass. The serious cook will love all the sizes, especially if you like to have all your ingredients at hand for the big cook. Anyone who uses these will be surprised at how often the multiple sizes get used, and how handy the fact that they stack very well for storage.
Stainless Steel Bowls
These bowls have a silicone base that makes them extremely easy to use. If you are pouring ingredients with one hand and whisking with the other, the bowl stays where you put it. Having the base also makes them quieter with less clatter while handling or on the counter. Regiller adds a couple details with measurement lines in the bowl and a wide rolled edge that pours well when transferring liquids.
Made in Brazil, these bowls are built to last. Aesthetically, the lower section is a brushed finish to diminish visible scratches with a polished rim that looks great. But these bowls excel even more in form over function. Sturdy. Seriously, easily considered commercial grade. If you like a bowl as your topper to a double boiler, these are for you. Their weight helps even temperature transfer, their rigidity means no flex when you move from pot to counter. Their depth is similar to a mixing bowl with steep sides to keep ingredients in the bowl. Buyer beware, you will have these for a long time!
The three characteristics we like about these boards are they stay in place fairly well, they are soft enough to be knife friendly, they have a runnel to catch juices. Their sizing is adequate and this set offers you decent choices to work with. A fun bonus is that they are reversible, although only one side is grooved, that will add to their longevity. Dishwasher safe makes them easy to sanitize since they will get some knife marks. Boards that don’t show marks will generally require more time sharpening your knives, that is your trade off.
For anyone who has been in a commercial kitchen they will recognize this style of board; thick, heavy, durable. The only negative is a tendency to slide around of some counter surfaces, which cooks solve by putting a damp towel underneath. The reason it is worth it is sanitation and no carry over flavors. Any kind of foot or grip or such creates spots for food and germs to hide, and degrade after use. No frills boards such as this sanitize well time after time. There’s a reason commercial kitchens use them. This is a smaller size they offer, and it is still very spacious, plus they offer the bigger sizes for serious chopping so you can build your own set.
Bamboo has really changed the game for wooden cutting boards. It may not have the natural antibacterial nature of some woods, but it is durable and lasts well if properly maintained. Every wooden board requires effort to clean and maintain, comes with the territory. But they offer good looks and knife safe surfaces in exchange. These have a good size assortment, all grooved, along with one nice feature. They all have indented handles to easily lift them off the countertop, especially nice if you are using the board to serve.
Best of Show
Your cutting board is a tool, but like many excellent tools in can come with artistry as well, kitchen knives being another great example. In both you want function with the form, and this board delivers. At 10 pounds and thick, this can be accurately called a block. Made with Teak, the best naturally antibacterial wood, they use an end grain design which is much easier on your knives. It is a trade-off, requiring a little more maintenance and regular oiling or waxing. Yet somehow it just seems right, using a wooden board when carving nice cuts of meat. Sometimes we get things to treat ourselves or others, this cutting board will feel like that kind of purchase, one you will enjoy for a long time.