During a raging record breaking snow storm on Jan 5, 1949, my sister was born. The following day was my parents’ fourth wedding anniversary. With limited ability to shop, Dad took his gift to Mom in the hospital. It was a set of four glass bowls in graduating sizes in four different colors: yellow, red, green and blue. The insides were white.
The smallest bowl was blue and used mainly for serving vegetables. The red and green ones were for salads or jello.
Over the first twenty years with our family, all of these bowls were broken, but the largest one known fondly to all as “The Yellow Bowl” celebrates its 64th anniversary this month! It is miraculous that this bowl served our family of eight in so many ways and has continued for 64 years to serve my parents’ 60 children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Was it a salad bowl, a mixing bowl, a baking bowl, a proofing bowl or a serving bowl? Yes! It was all of these and more. After conferring with my five siblings, here are our memories…
A Mixing Bowl– I remember Mom mixing pancakes from scratch, folding in the beaten egg whites to make them light and fluffy. My sisters and I were in charge of mixing up batches of cookies, cakes and quick breads on Saturdays for school lunches. We loved seeing left over rice from breakfast or dinner because it meant that soon rice pudding would be mixed in the Yellow Bowl.
Mom mixed bread dough by hand in a large metal bowl and then placed a portion of it in the Yellow Bowl, covered with a damp cloth to rise. How we loved coming home from school to the fragrance in the air of baking cinnamon rolls or flap jacks fried in an inch of Crisco and spread with butter and homemade blackberry jam. Mom was the only one in the neighborhood who baked bread so it was a treat for our friends also.
A Baking Bowl– Mom baked meat loaf, scalloped potatoes and macaroni in the Yellow Bowl.
A Canning Bowl– Scalded peaches met with ice water in the Yellow Bowl to cool them down so we could peel and pit them for canning. It was also used for peeling pears and rinsing off apricots for canning. Juice was squeezed into the Yellow Bowl in the process of making jelly.
A Potato Salad Bowl– Potato salad was our family favorite. The Yellow Bowl was filled to the rim and taken to every picnic and camping trip through four generations.
A Popcorn Bowl– Winter Saturday nights often found our family in front of the fireplace, watching TV, playing Chinese checkers or Monopoly. The Yellow Bowl was filled with hot fresh buttered popcorn and set on the coffee table along with napkins. Everyone placed their share in a napkin to munch on during the evening.
A Potato Chip Bowl– Our family tradition for Saturday night dinner was hamburgers with all the trimmings, potato chips and root beer (the only time we ever drank soda pop except on picnics, and never caffeine drinks). Potato chips always filled the Yellow Bowl.
A Serving Bowl– Spaghetti (sauce made from scratch and simmered three hours) goulash, beef stew, fall apart pot roast with vegetables, mashed potatoes and the above mentioned baked dishes were carefully passed around the table in the Yellow Bowl. It was also taken to church and family functions.
My childrens’ memories of the Yellow Bowl
“It enjoyed an almost sacred status in grandma’s home and woe to anyone who broke it.”
“I remember the glistening of the inside of the bowl which was the oil used to keep bread dough from sticking. It seemed to have a permanent sheen.”
“I couldn’t see over the counter to know what was in the bowl except when it had rising dough in it with a damp cloth over it. Then I knew something really good was coming. “
“It had many scrapes and scratches on the outside, a testament to years of heavy use and age. Seemed larger than it does now.”
The Yellow bowl survived through eight moves the first thirty five years. Dad and Mom retired and bought an RV and took the Yellow Bowl with them for the next fifteen years as they travelled the West. It remained with them for ten years in their retirement apartment. Tired hands finally succumbed to old age and the Yellow Bowl lay in silence in the back of the cupboard. After they passed away, the Yellow Bowl found an unlikely young pair of hands in the 4th generation to continue its journey at what it does best; providing a working partner in the kitchen and bringing joy once again to its family. These young hands belong to Ellie (elliewellie), my granddaughter. She treasures its historical value and will carry its legacy forward for many years to come.