Friday, March 13, 2009

Favorite Thing Friday: Anchor Hocking Storage Bowls

Montessori philosophy encourages natural materials over plastic in just about any situation. There has also been a lot of concern internationally about the possible effects that storing and heating foods in plastic may have on your health.  Together these things led me to think a little differently about what I planned to feed the boys out of.

When Kal-El was six months old and I started making his baby food I bought a four-pack of 1-cup storage bowls at Kmart.  The next day I went back and bought four more packages.  Sooner or later, I went back and bought some more.  Then, he started eating larger quantities of food so I went back and bought several sets of 2-cup storage bowls.  If you want to see how much we really like these bowls, check out this picture of the cabinet we keep them in (and keep in mind half of our stash of the 2-cup bowls were in the dishwasher when I took it).

I love these for sooo many reasons.  The 1-cup bowls were a great size when we were at the baby food stage and still are for collecting tidbits of leftovers, serving desserts, serving side dishes, serving condiments, or whatever.  The 2-cup bowls are great for all of the above, as well as actually eating out of on a daily basis.  I never have to worry about storing whatever the boys leave behind in their bowls because I can just pop a lid on top.  The lids are great for taking food with us, which we do all the time.  I used to arrive at my parent's house to stay for the weekend with a beverage cooler packed full of the little ones with enough baby food to get us through a weekend.

The boys still eat a bowl of super porridge just about every day...

... as well as some kind of yogurt mixture (we buy plain and flavor our own).  

They have both been eating out of these since they were six months old.  Here's an old one of Kal-El eating spaghetti...

I know that there are some plastics that are still considered safe, and we used to have some of those (particularly take-n-toss) floating around.  I never liked them though because they didn't hold up well and I would wind up having to buy more.  They became scratched, stained and dull over time.  They were always still wet after going through the dishwasher and seemed to leave everything else wet too.  They never felt like they cleaned up well and my theory is that the lightweight dishes led to more frequent spills at mealtime.  I also always wonder when the scientists are going to change their mind and say that the safe plastics aren't safe either.

These are nice and heavy, and are virtually indestructible.  They come out of the dishwasher dry and sparkling.  The lids are safe in the top rack, but the lids rarely touch the foods so I usually just rinse or hand wash them.  The bowls themselves are oven-safe, microwave-safe, and dishwasher- safe.  I have frequently thrown these in the freezer and they worked well.

Both boys have dropped these from their high chair to the floor several times and they have never broken or chipped.

The shape stacks really well in the refrigerator, they are very space-efficient.  They stack just fine in the cabinet.  I have a set some much more expensive Pampered Chef which stack better in the cabinet because they have tapered bottoms.  This is a trade-off because they aren't as space efficient in the refrigerator and the lids are much flimsier.  I have read that some people stack these with a lid in-between each bowl.  My lids are just to the right of the bowls in the picture of my cabinet stacked in some old Pyrex refrigerator dishes.  I only use a lid about 25% of the time, so I don't want to store a lid with each bowl.

I tried picking these up at Target once instead of Kmart and returned them because the lid was different (thinner plastic, flimsier) so they seem to be of varying quality depending on which store they are manufactured for.  Kmart also has identical bowls with green lids and the Martha Stewart name on them.  They are the same bowls, by the same manufacturer, but are about $1 more per set.  I splurged on a set or two just because it is sometimes nice to have a different color lid.  

These cover the same uses that my moms old "custard cups" used to fill.  I've also used these as ramekins.  I can make individual molten chocolate cakes for 20 if I have to!  They do a great job on taco night.  I put out a buffet of toppings (shredded cheese, avocado, chopped tomato and such) and can just pop the lids back on and toss them in the refrigerator for the next day's reruns.

When I was bringing homemade baby and toddler food for two boys everywhere I went, there was no such thing as having too many 1-cup bowls.  However, at this point I am a little overstocked in the 1-cup size.  Fortunately I have a new niece and nephew that will be ready for some little glass baby food bowls any day now.  That will make some room in the cabinet for some more in the larger size.  I'm always running out.


  1. When you come over to my house DO NOT open any of my cupboard doors. I'd be horrified after looking at the inside of yours.

    If anyone questions why toddlers need bibs they only need to look at the boy's photos eating porridge and spaghetti. My word! I think I would have just put them in the shower and hosed them down LOL~

  2. I know! As I was posting this I realized my next Favorite Thing Friday post should be about bibs.

    Oddly, for about a year now, Kal-El has been the only one in his toddler playgroup that still wears a bib. Most of the group is girls, I think there's a difference there.

  3. These look so great! We have some nice glass dishes from ikea which I like but to have a lid to go with them sounds so great! A good way to save time and dishes! I am planning to raid Kmart as soon as possible!! Thanks again for sharing!

  4. Its funny because just this weekend, I decided to get rid of all plastic bowls. I have a few of these glass ones which I love! I need to go buy some more. I also agree with you that the heavier the plate or glass, the less spills!