The Next Trend in Tableware May Bowl You Over
Plates — they seem like a tableware staple, but it turns out they’re, like, totally five minutes ago.
Today, it’s all about bowls, baby — big bowls, “bistro” bowls, as well as bowls of more modest size, bowls that are sort of like plates only with big upturned rims (those are officially called “coupes,” you may be interested to know) and bowls that are just, you know, bowls.
“Sales of bowls are rising as Americans prefer more casual, one-course meals that layer flavors,” the Wall Street Journal recently noted in an article that ran under the headline “ Bowls Are the New Plates.”
Sales of Fiesta’s cheerily hued bowls have climbed 17 percent in the last year, more than any other item in its tableware collection, and bowls now make up about one-third of the dishware maker’s sales, the company’s vice president of retail sales and marketing, Rich Brinkman, told the Journal.
Brinkman said that a few years ago, when slow cookers became a trend, he figured bowl sales would rise — since a lot of dishes made in them are best served in bowls. As a consequence the company proactively released a line of 38- and 68-ounce bowls, a size that used to be considered a serving dish. Now, though, people are buying those plus-size “bistro” bowls in multiples and “eating from them, not serving from them,” he said.
Other trends that have made bowls the next big thing? We’ve become more mobile eaters — less inclined to sit for family dinners around the table — and bowls, with their “coupes,” are easier to cart around without worrying about the food sliding off than flat ol’ plates are. We’re eating more fresh fruits, vegetables and grains, which layer well in bowls, and pasta, which we Americans are mad for, is a good bowl food, too. Asian cuisine, which has been on the rise in the U.S., has always been all about the bowl. Some chefs note that bowls help flavors mix and blend. Plus, those of us who have eased off carbs are less inclined to miss the bread in a bowl than on a plate.
What’s more, bowls are good utility players: good for serving, snacking, food prep and presentation. And they’re good for casual dining.
“A bowl is much more flexible and open to interpretation compared to a plate,” Food Network’s own Ree Drummond told the Journal, which noted that bowls — some designed to be especially big and deep — feature prominently in her new tableware line. “I wanted them to be able to hold a dinner-size stir fry, salad or pasta.”
Sadly, bowls’ ascent may come at the cost not only of the formerly all-powerful plate, but of the humble mug as well. Some prominent tableware lines, including several made by housewares producer Gibson Overseas, are phasing mugs out of their standard place settings to make way for — you guessed it — an extra bowl.
Aw, poor mug. Bowled over when it least expected it.