What is this nipple doing in this bowl?
May 15, 2013 5:56 AM   Subscribe

A friend in Montreal is organizing a rummage sale at her church, and this bowl was donated. I have no other information from her other than this picture. I've done my best to research and ask around, but I'm stumped and so are a few of my antique and vintage tchotchke dealer friends. It's not the value of it that we're wondering about - everyone was curious as to what is the intended purpose for a nipple-shaped protrusion in the centre of the bowl -- do you know?
posted by peagood to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe it's for making some sort of cake, or to help mix stuff?

The reason I would say it's to help mix stuff is because that nipple shape would introduce turbulence into whatever liquids are being mixed, and so help mix them better.

But this is a wild guess and could very well be wrong...
posted by dfriedman at 5:59 AM on May 15, 2013

The first thing I thought of was a lettuce crisper. You take the core out of a head of iceberg lettuce and then set it on the nipple.

Much like the iconic, Tupperware Lettuce Crisper.

It's a guess though.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:59 AM on May 15, 2013

Could be an Apple Baking Dish? The protrusion doesn't look tall enough or cylindrical enough, though.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:01 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Hey! Check this out! Could it be a food dish designed to slow a dog down?

Here's another.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:08 AM on May 15, 2013

Lingam Tibetan singing bowls also have a protrusion at the centre. But your bowl doesn't look like you'd get much of a note out of it (other than a nice crash-tinkle if you dropped it).
posted by pipeski at 6:13 AM on May 15, 2013

My best guess is that it's to help promote even heating by keeping the food/liquid away from the hottest or coldest part of the bowl (depending on whether heating is from the outside or the centre bottom).

It was placed there by a troublemaker to make us all google nipple bowls
posted by pianissimo at 6:24 AM on May 15, 2013 [6 favorites]

My first thought was an apple baking dish as well.
posted by Ostara at 6:27 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Is it my idea or is it slightly off center? How large is the bowl?
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:06 AM on May 15, 2013

I'd guess at some sort of Bain-marie
posted by Dub at 7:42 AM on May 15, 2013

Dang it. I saw a bowl like this on facebook a week or two ago (maybe posted from Pinterest?) but I'm not into the cooking thing so much, so I can't remember what it was about. Sorry.
posted by Doohickie at 7:48 AM on May 15, 2013

Perhaps for juicing citrus.
posted by phearlez at 9:48 AM on May 15, 2013

Can you ask two questions of the picture sender and report back to the class?
  1. I can't really tell if the nipple is actually centered in this bowl, but it looks slightly off to me. Can you tell us if that's so?
  2. Also, are there any marks on the bottom?

posted by bilabial at 10:06 AM on May 15, 2013

How big is it? Because yeah: baked apple bowl. If it fits an apple comfortably, that's it.

With baked apples, you core them --- think of cutting a tunnel through from top to bottom --- but leave the skin on; stuff the empty core with raisins plus a tablespoon or so of brown sugar and top it with a teaspoon or so of butter. The 'nipple' in the dish would help hold the apple upright. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour, serve hot with vanilla ice cream. (Although I have to admit, in my own family we just bake the apples in a standard Pyrex baking dish, not no high-falutin' fancy individual-serve thing.)
posted by easily confused at 10:54 AM on May 15, 2013

It's not a lid? Looks like a spike where steam drips from while cooking, to baste what you are cooking.
posted by kellyblah at 1:07 PM on May 15, 2013

It makes me think of the bottom half of a two-piece African Violet pot, though I can't find any pictures of one like yours. Here's one with a nipple on the bottom of the inner pot.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:29 PM on May 15, 2013

I've asked her, but she hasn't yet responded.

Also, not a troublemaker - but you don't want to see my browser history and the Google suggestions I get, as a sometimes antique dealer and collector...

posted by peagood at 7:56 AM on May 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

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