In praise of: vintage mixing bowls.

For Christmas, my grandmother gave me a treasure, truly: her set of painted Pyrex mixing bowls. They’d been in her kitchen since forever and are thoroughly loved and well used. I’ve been seeking a set of vintage Pyrex mixing bowls exactly like this, searched antique stores, even made a failed bid on eBay. But to have her set … well, it’s an honor.

At a few months past her 90th birthday, Grandma still cooks for herself. Simply, but still. In fact, she stirred up a batch of homemade noodles to give us along with the bowls. It was the last thing she made in them. So I vow to use them with care and love.

When I untied the bow on the cardboard box and saw what was inside, I cried. I did. (And I just might again as I’m writing this.) So did my aunt and mother, who knew what Grandma was giving to me. Immediately, the three Letterman ladies recalled all the good things that had been made and served in these bowls. Tuna salad, for easy Friday night suppers. Pimento cheese spread for sandwiches. Cake batter, primarily Duncan Hines spice cake, a birthday favorite. Cookie dough. Noodles.

Tucked in the smallest bowl was a Post-it note reading: Do NOT put in dishwasher. I won’t Grandma, promise. But I will use these mixing bowls, just as you always have, to prepare good food for the people I love.

15 thoughts on “In praise of: vintage mixing bowls.

  1. Bryn how lovely! I have wanted a set of vintage Pyrex bowls for ages and always scour the antique and thrift stores for them but they’ve gotten so expensive. But to have the ones your Grandma used?? That’s so much more special! I hope you whip up many wonderful things in them and you’ll always get to think of her when you do!

  2. Oh, gorgeous! And what a fun coincidence that the primary color mixing bowl set is the most highly coveted of all the Pyrex bowls. The usually go for at least $100!

    • Grace, I discovered the demand for these bowls when I tried several months ago to bid on eBay. My $70 bid was woefully under the mark. I really love all manner of vintage Pyrex ware — it’s the stuff of my upbringing. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Such a gift and inspiration. I also love the glass top pyrex refrigerator storage. Here’s to many delicious dishes in 2012!

  4. My mother had this same set and we gave it to my middle sister after mom passed. She cried as well. My oldest sister and I each found a set of our own – mine that the Burlington Flea Market in Union, KY – I cherish these and use them often. All of my mom’s great soups were made in these – Thanks for the memories!

  5. Wow. I saw the photo on the Cincinnati Enquirer website, and immediately clicked on the link to read this article. I have a set of these vintage Pyrex bowls which were my mom’s original bowls she got as a wedding present in 1960! I love them, and use them literally every day. Back in the mid-1990s, the large yellow bowl was dropped on some concrete and broke – but about 5 years ago I was able to find a replacement for it that was the same color, style #, and year as my original one! I was elated! Found it at the Ohio Valley Antique Mall, in Fairfield Ohio. They had several compete sets of these bowls. Thanks so much for this article!

  6. I almost cried when seeing this pic. My mom is no longer with us and I don’t know what happened to her set. I can’t tell you how many casseroles were made in the large yellow bowl. I have to find a set now.

  7. When I was still a single guy, I stopped at a yard sale next to the apartment I was living in and snatched a set of these for 2 bucks. All these years later, they are still going strong, and Linda’s go to bowl for a “big salad”. Not to mention her favorite bowl for popcorn, which she eats without using her hands!, uh-huh, it’s a sight.
    Never had a problem with a single one all these years,but after reading how many folks are looking for some, we are sure to drop/chip/break one for sure!
    Give Peroni our Love! steve

    • Steve, I LOVE this story. Two bucks? This same set is going for close to $100 on eBay these days. While shopping a local antique store a few months ago, I found the yellow one — it was solo — so now I’m on the hunt for the other three to give it company, even tho I have Grandma’s set. You’re right: the largest one is perfect for a giant salad (and for popcorn … thanks for the visual!). See you in the spring! B

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