When I first started watching cooking shows on TV, the first thing that I noticed that those cooks/chefs used lots of small prep bowls. I tended to chop things as I worked, when I needed them. This was especially true if I was making something like vegetable soup and there was no need to rush to get all the ingredients into the pot in a short window of time. But once I tried the prep bowl method at home, there was no doubt that it seemed to make the cooking process go a little smoother and faster, even though it meant that there were more bowls to wash.
Cook’s Illustrated tested a few mini prep bowls for durability and to see if they really did speed up the cooking process in a recent issue. They picked 6-oz Pyrex Dessert Cups and Totally Bamboo Mini Bowls, among others, and checked for stability and ease of cleanup. Their results found that the most versatile bowls – the oven/dishwasher/microwave safe Pyrex bowls – were the easiest to use and easiest to clean, not retaining smells of garlic and spices like some other bowls. The bamboo needed to be hand-washed only and retained strong smells. Plus, they were too small for some ingredients to be that useful. The Pyrex cups can also be used for baking souffles or serving puddings and other desserts, giving them multiple uses and making them more deserving of kitchen space, so even if you only use them sometimes for prep work, you’ll still find them to be useful.