Why The 'Garbage Bowl' Wasn't Actually Rachael Ray's Idea

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In 2001, Rachael Ray shared her first recipes for 30-minute meals on television and quickly achieved celebrity status, according to Food Network. In that time, several Rachael-isms — terms and cooking tips attributed to Ray — have become ingrained into our everyday cooking lexicon. One expression forever associated with Ray, and even listed in a glossary on her website, is "EVOO," which is Ray's catchy acronym for extra virgin olive oil. She shares that the full name is too "wordy, and I'm an impatient girl." More Rachael-isms listed in the glossary include "Yum-O!" and "Delish," as well as the direction, "Two turns of the pan," which is her way of adding two tablespoons of oil to a pan without measuring.

Another Rachael-ism that has been wildly popular, not only as a kitchen organization tip, but as an actual product sold on Ray's website and in retail chains, is the garbage bowl. In a Season 2 episode of the "Rachael Ray Show" (via YouTube) she shares that using a bowl to collect kitchen scraps, eggshells, etc. is "an old restaurant trick," with a bowl positioned under a hole in a counter-top cutting board. Because she has promoted the countertop garbage bowl on her shows and sells them under her name, it's been assumed that Ray alone came up with this idea. In reality, she isn't the first television cooking show host to promote the use of a garbage bowl: That honor belongs to "Sara's Weeknight Meals" host, chef Sara Moulton.

Sara Moulton has promoted using a garbage bowl for decades

If the garbage bowl is a restaurant hack like Rachael Ray says then it's not surprising that chef Sara Moulton knows about it: She trained at the Culinary Institute of America, assisted Julia Child as a recipe stylist and tester, and worked in restaurants in France and New York City before starting her television career (via HuffPost). In fact, it was apparently Moulton who first introduced television audiences to using a garbage bowl to corral food scraps while cooking. "The garbage bowl was mine," she told the Toledo Blade. Moulton has shared this idea in her cookbooks too, like "Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners," where, in the introduction, she recommends, "keeping a bowl for garbage ... within arm's reach. It saves you from running back and forth to the garbage pail and from cluttering up your counter" (from Amazon).

This misattribution of the garbage bowl hasn't caused a rift between Moulton and Ray: On the contrary, the two seem to be good friends, with Moulton appearing on dozens of episodes of "The Rachael Ray Show" for the last 10 years. In fact, there's even an episode (via YouTube) in which Moulton brings viewers on a tour of her home kitchen. There Moulton shows off a custom-made, pull-out cutting board that has a hole where scraps fall into — a garbage bowl! If Moulton ever decides to retail her own garbage bowl/cutting board hybrid, now you know why.