I must admit that the food bowl trend baffled me at first. The bowls used to “build your own meals” aren’t delicate porcelain bowls adorned with floral designs or made with colorful pressed glass, and the food inside is neither fancy nor combinations of the unusual. Instead, the bowls in question can be simple, everyday white bowls that are more commonly associated with eating hurried breakfast cereals. As I skeptically transferred my warmed-up leftovers (Indian food and some broiled vegetables) from a plate to a bowl, I realized that I was missing the point.
A simple white bowl plays up the color of food; The brown color of leftover chickpeas and green broiled Brussels’ sprouts boldly stood out amongst more colorful red cabbage and charred eggplant. Carbohydrates, such as my white jasmine rice or transparent mung noodles, pop amongst the riot of purples and oranges in a bowl filled with roasted vegetables. A white plate can provide the same trick, but the array of colors tightly juxtaposed in a bowl somehow tricks the eye into seeing a fuller, more delicious display.
Another reason for the success of this trend is the shape of the container. Wrapping your hands around a bowl forces a stronger connection to the food. Building up a bowl with your choice fixings is like being presented with all of your favorite comfort foods all at once, but with built-in portion control due to the limiting size of the bowl. The flexibility of prepping ahead, by using up leftovers or creating new groupings, and assembling balanced bowls will keep this trend going for a while.
Filling A Bowl:
- Add color and nutrients: Fill half the bowl with fresh, steamed or roasted vegetables.
- Add heft: Fill a quarter of the bowl with whole grain pasta, quinoa, or even leftover rice from the takeout carton.
- Add protein: Fill a quarter with tofu, fish, or spare meatballs.
- Add a flourish: Garnish with simple oil and vinegar dressing, curry sauce, or toasted cashews or almonds for a crunch.
Enjoy your personal masterpiece!