Grandma’s Pyrex Mixing Bowls

Think of one small object in your house to which you are emotionally attached, something that you love for some intangible reason, something that would seem not valuable and ordinary to most any one else. Can you identify and describe why that object is important to you? Why did you save it in the first place, and what keeps you from tossing it with the next yard sale or round of spring cleaning? If you are like me, you have many objects that fall into that category.

I’m not a packrat. I don’t like clutter or a messy house and I have periodic cleaning, recycling, give-away episodes; but, I’ll just say it: I like my stuff. Of course, by “stuff” I refer to sentimental objects, furniture hand-me-downs from family members, picture frames, books, blankets, dinnerware. I could never be someone who lives in a minimalist or tiny house with barely any belongings to her name. These objects – this stuff – holds memories and plays a role in making a house a home. I’m a sentimental fool when it comes to random objects, particularly those given to me by grandparents.


Grandma's three Pyrex bowls passed on to me.

My grandmother was not so much a fan of stuff, sentimental or otherwise, and she saved little. She never stopped moving forward, but occasionally I’d be lucky enough to hear a memory. I could never completely understand her logic for saving what she did, but with the stories I knew, I could piece together the objects around the house. I know that what I have of my grandmother’s was significant to her, even if I don’t know the reason. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have kept it. What I have of my grandmother’s is important to me. I can feel a connection to those family heirlooms that I love, especially those that I can incorporate into in my everyday life and my home.

Cooking is not my forte, but I do love to bake and experiment with baking (within reason). Kitchenware has always been a favorite household category of mine, particularly mixing bowls. Needless to say, when my mom gave me three Pyrex mixing bowls from Grandma’s house, I was thrilled. These three bowls are in great condition and feel worn, loved and used from decades of baking. Oddly enough, I can’t remember Grandma using these bowls when I was around, but she loved baking oatmeal raisin cookies for me when I was in college. Who wouldn’t love to receive a tin of homemade cookies from Grandma? Delicious. Maybe she didn’t use these bowls to make the cookies for me, but I have a hunch that at some point, they held cookie dough.


Sitting pretty on my (non-functioning) ca. 1930 Hardwick stove.

There is something about Pyrex that makes me happy while I’m baking.
Did you know that Pyrex is in vogue? Before researching the date on these bowls, I had no idea how much people love Pyrex. There are entire websites dedicated to the patterns, dates, collections, buying and selling of Pyrex bowls. Based on my research, these bowls are 1940s Pyrex mixing bowls, noted as from the solid color set. However, I have a feeling that the bowls are mismatched from more than one set.

If they are from the 1940s, perhaps these bowls were a wedding shower gift to my grandmother or something she purchased as a newlywed. That is my guess as to why she saved them.


An alternative view of their shape.

I prefer to use a wooden spoon with my Pyrex bowls. As I bake, I remember Grandma fondly. These Pyrex bowls are comforting to me. Grandma kept these for a reason, and I intend to keep them and bake with them for as long as I am able – perhaps with my own grandchildren someday.

For what reasons do you save stuff? What inconsequential objects do you love?