I've been wanting to post about these enamel bowls ever since my trip to Beijing in May, but figured they ought to wait until Escapes month, so here they are! Despite their bulk, I couldn't resist cramming a couple into my suitcase. In Beijing they're ubiquitous, used for washing clothes, selling fruit and sunflower seeds, and so on. My husband, a very practical man, looked at them askance when I unpacked them, so for his benefit and yours, I've made a list of things these bowls would be great for (other than just looking pretty). Also find out how to get your hands on them in the States...
• Use them to hold ice and bottled drinks at a summer party.
• Use them for low flower arrangements. Make a lattice of floral tape across the top to keep the flowers in place.
• Host a Chinese dinner party and use them to serve a big stir-fry.
• In true Bejing style, use them to soak your delicates.
• Add some soil and use them to pot up a little Asian-themed container garden. Try lucky bamboo (actually not a bamboo at all, but a Dracaena), orchids, plumerias, or even a dwarf Kaffir lime tree.
Not heading to China anytime soon? Well, lucky for you, I've heard that these enamel bowls (and also enamel thermoses and plates) are readily available in Chinatown. I suppose this gives my husband yet another reason to smirk at the fact that I lugged them across the Pacific, but hey, there's something to be said for buying from the source.
(Images: Susie Nadler for Apartment Therapy)