Most people who are serious home chefs have an origin story that involves learning at the knee of a parent or grandparent. I, on the other hand, felt called to the kitchen after watching cooking shows on Saturday mornings. I was an incredibly picky eater growing up, so the appeal was often less about the finished product and more about the process. I was mesmerized by the sounds, sights, and, mostly, the order with which food was created. When I attempted to make things, the kitchen was chaos. In the world of food TV, there was an calm rhythm that made things seem effortless and achievable.
It was only years later, when I got my first job at a food publication, that I learned what had me so hypnotized: the process of mise en place. At the same time, I realized that I needed my own glass prep bowls — and I fell for thesestackable bowls by Duralex.
Duralex 3.5-Inch Stackable Clear Bowls, $24 for six
I like that the bowls are minimal and no-fuss. They're tempered, meaning they'll stand up to sudden changes in temperature (from -4°F to 266°F, according to their product page). They're microwave-, dishwasher-, and freezer-safe. And the glass also won't absorb colors or flavors of the food you store in it, and gets squeaky clean again even with a gentle hand-washing.
The 3.5-inch bowls are great for prepping small things that can be annoying to measure or chop in the moment, like small amounts of herbs or spices. And, once you're all done, they stack up nicely, taking up very little real estate. (Have I mentioned that I really like things that stack neatly?)
While I'm still not the professional chef that I dreamed I would become, using my prep bowls still makes me feel like I really know what I'm doing. And, as it turns out, having everything prepped in bowls does make things less chaotic. Sadly, however, I've yet to figure out the secret to having a production crew handle dish duty for me.