Have you ever been served a side of sauce in a restaurant and wondered what that little dish is called? The answer might just surprise you. Welcome to the fascinating world of the monkey bowl, also known as the monkey dish!
What Exactly is a Monkey Bowl?
If you’ve dined in restaurants, chances are you’ve encountered a monkey bowl, probably without even knowing it. A monkey bowl, alternatively referred to as a monkey dish or monkey plate, is a quaint little bowl that sits flatly on your table. Found in numerous hues and designs, these dishes are a staple in diners, bistros, and eateries globally. So, the next time you’re handed a small dish with condiments or sides, remember – you might just have a monkey bowl in your hands!
Diverse Uses of the Monkey Bowl
Their petite structure and straightforward design make monkey bowls exceedingly versatile. Whether in a busy kitchen or as a table’s centerpiece, their adaptability is commendable. Let’s look at some of their primary uses:
- Sauces & Condiments: These bowls provide the perfect portion size for dips, sauces, and condiments accompanying your main meal.
- Bites & Appetizers: They are ideal for serving mini dishes like hummus, applesauce, and even tiny snacks.
- Ingredients & Toppings: Chefs love them for holding ingredients like fruits, nuts, or garnishes, ensuring they have everything at hand.
Unraveling the Monkey Bowl Mystery
But why the name “monkey bowl” or “monkey dish”? Despite their widespread use, the origin of their intriguing name remains shrouded in mystery. Here are a few theories:
- Street Performer’s Accessory: Some believe the name harks back to the 19th century’s organ grinders. These street artists had monkeys performing to their music, collecting tips in small dishes. It’s suggested that monkey bowls might resemble these very dishes.
- Made of Monkey: Another more gruesome theory postulates that early iterations of these dishes were crafted from monkey skulls!
- Royal Food Tasters: Legends also state that in yesteryears, royals employed monkeys to test their food for poison. Monkeys were served food in these dishes, lending the bowls their distinctive name.
Monkey Bowl vs. Ramekin
It’s essential to note that monkey bowls, although similar, are not ramekins. A few differences include:
- Depth & Width: Ramekins have deeper and more vertical walls, while monkey bowls are typically flatter.
- Usage: While ramekins are oven-friendly, monkey bowls are exclusively for serving.
Final Thoughts on the Magic of Monkey Bowls
The enigmatic nature of their origin notwithstanding, monkey bowls (or, if you prefer, monkey dishes or monkey pod wood bowl) are indispensable in the culinary world. They add an element of sophistication, ensuring that condiments and appetizers are presented elegantly. So, whether it’s for sauces, accompaniments, or just holding that perfect serving of fruits, a monkey bowl is what you need.
Remember, these dishes are more than just vessels; they carry a history, a set of stories, and a touch of mystery with them. The next time you see one, you’ll know the tales it holds within.