The Open Bowl from Material Kitchen
Credit: Material Kitchen

These All-Purpose Ceramic Bowls Are the Most Beautiful Item in My Kitchen—and the Most Used

They are perfect for everything from salad to soup to pasta.
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My approach to stocking my pantry and refrigerator is, admittedly, maximalist. I want all of the fancy drizzling oils, specialty spice blends, and imported pastas. But when it comes to dinnerware, I take a simpler approach and try to keep my collection neat and tidy. (That way, the focus stays on the food!) After searching for years for the perfect dinnerware piece, I've finally found it. It's simple, elegant, and so efficient, I use it for every meal.

My dinnerware crush is from cookware brand Material, and although it's a bowl I hesitate to call it that—it's so much more than "just" a bowl. It's called The Open Bowl, thanks to its wide, shallow design. At just 2 inches tall, it feels almost like a blate (that's a plate-bowl hybrid). Its 8.5-inch diameter makes it feel substantial enough for dinner, but not unwieldy. 

Material Kitchen Plate Bowl Set
Credit: Courtesy of Material

To buy: Material the Open Bowl, set of 2, $80 at materialkitchen.com

The beauty of The Open Bowl is that it's perfectly suited for a variety of meals. Saucy noodles? Toss 'em in. Hearty grain bowls? You bet. Green salads? Perfection. Short ribs? Heavenly. Pasta, polenta, soup, and rice? Check, check, check, and double check. I've also used mine for morning porridge and smoothie bowls—it can hold a lot of toppings. Honestly, the only meal I wouldn't use these for is a protein-heavy dish, like steak or grilled chicken

I can't overstate the power of simple workhorse dinnerware. No matter how much cabinet space you have, it's good to clear clutter. Once I realized how useful my Open Bowls were, I donated superfluous items that were really one-trick ponies. I haven't missed my ramen-specific bowls or cereal bowls. Material's customers seem to agree; one reviewer noted that the Open Bowls are "Good for anything you eat with a fork or spoon." (So… almost everything.)

After a few weeks of use, I found that I kept instinctively reaching for my Open Bowls without even thinking about it. They just feel good, and I'm absolutely sure that their sleek aesthetics have a lot to do with that. The bowls are made from Korean clay by the artisan ceramicists at Soil Baker. With a gently textured surface, they look bespoke and expensive. A five-star reviewer noted that they're a "piece of art," and I definitely concur. But at $80 for a set of two, they're surprisingly affordable for ceramic dinnerware. 

The Open Bowls come in two different colorways, a sandy beige called dune, and a moody blue called grotto. I'm a fan of white and off-white dinnerware (I learned my lesson after investing in a lime green serving bowl I have used… once). But if you're a fan of color, I can see the grotto bowls working in your kitchen. Many reviewers have commented on their "dramatic" appeal.

Although they look like heirloom pieces, unlike my great-grandmother's china, these can be tossed in the dishwasher and microwave. I'll cop to the fact that I often hand-wash mine, just because I can't bear to be without them while the dishwasher runs. Maybe it's time I invest in another set

Material Kitchen Plate Bowl Set
Credit: Courtesy of Material

To buy: Material the Open Bowl, set of 2, $80 at materialkitchen.com