There are no 1/3 cup increments, which I occasionally miss. The markings are difficult, but not impossible, to read. Because they're made of melamine, they are not oven or microwave safe.
The pros far outweigh the cons, so on balance, I was ready to give the prep bowls five stars. But I wanted to do a little research on melamine first, since there has been so much in the news about its toxicity as a food product.
It turns out that there is general agreement that melamine is safe for dishware, provided that it isn't heated in an oven or microwave. However, the manufacturing process uses toxic chemicals, namely formaldehyde and urea. And it is difficult to recycle because it will revert back to formaldehyde and urea when broken down. So all-in-all it's not an environmentally sound material, which knocks those stars down in my book.
Melamine is sturdy, however, so it should last for a long time, even in my clumsy hands. And as long as I keep it out of the microwave, it's safe to use as prep bowls. So given all of that, I think I'll keep my wee stack of prep bowls out of the landfill and working hard in my kitchen for as long as I can.
• Find them! Set of five stacking Mario Batali Prep Bowls, in persimmon, chianti, espresso, pesto and penne, from Amazon, $9.95
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