An Elegant Salad Bowl

I’m in the market for a salad bowl. My reliable ceramic pasta and salad bowl finally gave up the ghost and I’ve been reduced to mixing my greens in a cooking pot or a, heaven help me, plastic thing. Ideally a salad bowl should be able to go from kitchen to table, something that the cooking pot and plastic thingy cannot.

I’ve considered glass (Cooking.com). Elegant, but will it stand up to daily use?

Sophie Conran’s version.

Bamboo (from Branch). Sturdy, sustainable, but not really elegant in my book.

Ceramic (but at USD$295, I’m too hard on ceramic)

And then it hit me. When considering the elegant table, I ask myself… “what would The Architect do?”

Marble or cast stone, Regency era with a bit of architectural interest, of course.

But would the sideboard support it?

What is your most elegant solution to serving a salad?

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20 Responses to An Elegant Salad Bowl

  1. pve says:

    We have a Simon Pearce bowl that we love and a cobalt blue glass bowl from Tiffany’s that is rather elegant…~ do let us know what you find!
    pve

  2. The Architect says:

    Every December at our Christmas Breakfast, mesculin salads are served to guests from two enourmous hand cut crystal bowls. Only once (in 15 years) has anyone dared to ask what those bowls really were. After I confessed to adaptively re-using industrial sized glass shades – upside down- for salad bowls, the guest looked at his wife and said, “I told you so”. Note: I found two clear glass plates at Target which fit the smaller opening of the shade perfectly; a clear two part epoxy cemented the plate in place. But all that terra cotta pot needs is a fitted insert and a way to market the thing; you’ll get rich.

  3. Architect, I wouldn’t have dared ask. Thanks for letting me know though… off to Lowe’s’ “Kitchen Department”. You do use the urn outside though, don’t you?

    PvE, I knew you’d have an elegant dash of colour thrown into the mix!

  4. Rocked back on my heels at the overwhelming glass/crystal bowl usage. I feel so “out” with my wood salad bowl, adored since I peeled back the wedding wrap eighteen years ago. It is, particularly, sturdy.

  5. JohnS says:

    After WW II, making a salad in an untreated wooden bowl was all the rage. My parents had multiple sets. However, never washing the bowl with soap and water was not practiced in our home.

  6. robert stuart says:

    I don’t particularly like the look of an oily dressing gradually being smeared across clear (or colored) glass. I think greens look best in plain white porcelain.

  7. CallMeAl says:

    Yes, for me our plain maple salad bowl, which never a scouring pad has touched, speaks to me on dual levels. First, its sturdy unpretentious lines have graced both summer picnic tables and thanksgiving sideboards – presenting fragrant tabouli and late-night carbonara with equal aplomb. Second, its splayed wood grain and neo-americana heritage brings me back to my 70’s suburban roots and just begs for some display.

  8. Paula says:

    My first concern with a glass bowl is the look of dressing dripping down the bowl. Like a dirty window. Wood is traditional and classic, and that is why all brides should receive one for a wedding gift. Also, wood will absorb the flavors of the salad ingredients. This is important when you rub a clove of garlic on the inside of the bowl for the perfect Caesar Salad! Imagine rubbing a clove of garlic around a glass bowl. It just will end up looking smeared. Same is true when you whisk the dressing ingredients in the bowl and then add lettuces, etc., after that. It must be wood. Go to William Sonoma and buy a beautiful wooden salad bowl.

  9. Wisco says:

    For informal meals we use a maple bowl treated with food-grade oil as I like to make my Cesar salad dressing from scratch by first mashing some garlic in the bowl with the back of a spoon.

    Two alternatives we have considered are a “burl wood” bowl made out of a, well burl on a tree. The beauty is that no two are the same and the design is by nature. The woodsmith simply creates a cavity for your food. The second is Nambe bowl. I guess these used to be quite popular as we received several as wedding gifts when we were married in the early 1990’s. Elegant metal shapes.

  10. CW (Caesar Waldorf) Cobb says:

    We found ourselves in a similar situation to yours, dear Chris, and press-ganged into service an inexpensive silverplate Revere Bowl with a removable plastic liner. I’ll therefore submit it to the category of Easy and Elegant Salad Bowl: easy on account of said liner, and elegant due to the material and traditional shape. The proportions of the bowl seem to work especially well for tossing a leafy salad; it’s neither too deep no too broad. The silverplate option is easy on the pocketbook (especially if you can find the size you require at an estate sale or online auction); alternatively, if you go for the sterling option, you can always pass it on to the children in years to come.

    Happy hunting!
    CWC

  11. Pedro says:

    I’m completely partial to ceramic salad bowls, specially because I love antique fine china dinnerware.

    For formal occasion, we have a beautiful Noritake set white with a black and silver band; the salad bowl has an elegant oval design.

    For everyday use we have an assorted set of used china (I know some people have strong reserves on that) which is a cheap way to get yourself a elegant dinnerware in a budget. If you go for mismatched pieces you can save a ton of money (actually a complete antique set can be outrageously overpriced, but spare pieces are quite cheap). The secret is mix and match sticking with one or two colors (white and blue in my case) and one motif (frutal for example). The sald bowl I have is a Rosenthal (probably dated 1950’s) completely white with a neoclassical pattern, simple and elegant.

  12. Karena says:

    Chris, I have a Lalique Bowl for special occasions, also one much like your first image, and a pottery bowl for more casual!

    Something special for you and your lady……

    I have a Luxurious New Giveaway on my site….Come and enter!!

    Xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

  13. Hmmm, much to think about.

    CWC, wouldn’t the vinegar or lemon juice in the salad dressings pit the sterling?

    Another reader wrote in and suggested a mahogany bowl with a silver rim. That sounds very nice, too!

  14. CWC says:

    Hi Chris —
    The plastic liner in Revere Bowl keeps the inside from coming to any harm from the acid in the salad dressing. Here’s an example of the sort of bowl we use.

    BTW, I’ve heard that, on the Continent during the late eighteenth and early ninteenth centuries, salads were tossed at table by hand, and the female guest with the prettiest hands was invited to carry out that task. Another elegant custom ripe for revival?

    The silver-rimmed mahogany bowl sounds like a great option, too. Do let us know how you get on in your search!

  15. Thank you all. I am currently searching out a good wooden bowl.

  16. Daniel says:

    I have an large antique maple dough bowl that I use with Edwardian silver and walnut salad tongs. They work beautifully together. I keep the bowl oiled so that it doesn’t dry out. What’s old is new again?

  17. Paula says:

    Please forgive my strong feelings on this subject. I forgot to mention that salad greens look simply gorgeous against a backdrop of natural wood–as if they are sitting in a beautiful gathering basket just picked from the garden or on a fabulous maple countertop. I love glass for many things, like holding bunches of vintage French silver flatware, modern little ice buckets, or even a great English Ivy plant in the kitchen or dining room–but please use a beautifully shaped wooden bowl and serving pieces for your fresh green salads. It has been great fun to read all of the responses. Isn’t it funny the things that stir such response on your blog!? As if we are all obsessed over salad bowls . . . ! All the best!

  18. Capt. Mike says:

    While I “get” the wooden bowl, and do use one frequently, I certainly wouldn’t call it elegant. We’ve been using our Wilton Armetale bowls and trays for about 3 years now and love them. If you haven’t used one yet, they retain heat or cold (and thus keep salads crisp). You can even bake in them if you’re so inclined.

  19. Thanks Cap’t, I have a couple of Wilton pieces and they have been useful. I’ve also got a Nambé bowl squirrled away somewhere that I should dig out. I don’t think it’s large enough though.

    Paula, et al. Many thanks and I think the solution lies in having a beautiful wooden bowl AND a more elegant serving option. I’ll let you know how I make out.

  20. The Architect says:

    Yikes! Dressings – in sauce boats – are drizzled on after the greens are plated.

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