by Michael dEstries
Categories: Eats.

10126-brick.jpgI was sick yesterday (here’s my excuse) and E! had a True Hollywood Story on about cooking star Rachel Ray. It was pretty interesting to see how she got started — and I give her credit for starting from a small town in upstate New York and working her way to the top. In fact, I see her face on almost every box in the grocery store. A marketing wonder.

Anyways, while I dig what Ray has achieved, I think this latest addition to her product line is dumb. Called The Rachel Ray Garbage Bowl, it “saves you time running back and forth to the garbage can” with your food scraps and other waste. Ray still has not apparently grasped the idea of a “compost bowl” or the idea of promoting the practice in general. I understand that she’s the “Queen of Instant Cooking” and not Martha Stewart, but coming up with a bowl that retails for $18 to save walking three steps to your right is silly.

If she was promoting the diversion of waste (organic waste can account for as much as 30% of trash) with a compost bin or similar product, we’d be completely behind such an idea. As it is, this is just dumb marketing at its best. Save your cash.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Steve Balogh

    I wrote this open letter a year and a half ago. Apparently Rachel Ray has never read my blog. Hmph! heh heh.

    She could encourage thousands of people to start composting in their back yards…

  • Matt

    Hey now, I use a garbage bowl. Of course it’s an old plastic container that’s too gross to hold edible food, and it’s promptly dumped in the composter, but I DO TECHINCALLY use a garbage bowl.

    Besides, she’s one of the things that motivated me to start cooking so I can’t be too upset about the gross over marketed shill she has become.


  • AT

    I saw an ad for this in one of her magazines a few months back and immediately showed my roommate because I thought it was a dumb idea.

    My “garbage bowl” is an empty sour cream container that I keep by the sink in my tiny apartment kitchen. Organic waste goes into the container while I’m prepping my meal, and later goes into a plastic bag (usually a biodegradable one) that I keep in the freezer until it’s full enough to toss into the big organic waste bins behind nearby restaurants.
    Non-organic waste goes into the garbage bag below the sink. The size of my kitchen means that the garbage bag is always handy, but almost all waste can be composted now.

    I presume that Rachel has a huge kitchen and no composing facilities. Having a compost bowl on her shows would be great.

  • AT

    (Just an addendum to say that Matt hadn’t yet posted his comment when I started mine. :) )

  • Susan

    maybe if it was made out of recycled garbage…

  • JJ

    I can only echo what Susan said, because it is so obvious that I can’t believe she (or more to the point her mega-million dollar marketing team) missed this prime opportunity to make her look like she actually cares about anything. I guess if the RR machine can’t recognize a perfect moment to promote composting, then it is too much to expect them to come up with the idea of making this silly bowl from recycled plastic, either.
    I have long harbored an intense aversion to this woman, and this is an excellent example of the things that have fed my disgust.

  • Cindy

    Two things I like:
    ~getting great cooking ideas from Rachel Ray
    (yeah, I think she’s great!)
    ~and two, I am very enthusiastic about composting!
    I think you folks got a bit too heated up about the “Garbage Bowl.” Go ahead and call it a Compost Bowl if it makes you feel better…and stop whining. Instead,
    continue doing your thing and spread the word. We can get more bees with honey, not vinegar!

  • Cynthia Thomas

    Okay I admit I have been entering the RR contest to win one of her 20,000 holiday prizes. I really wanted the cast iron enameled dutch oven but I just won the garbage bowl. I am happy to have won anything though. Not being a religious watcher of RR I came to this site in an search engine inquiry to find out what it was. As I suspected it is a countertop bowl for your waste as you are cooking. I never used one and I don’t compost, but live in the country and have every opportunity to do so. I do like the idea though even if you aren’t an eco-friendly and even if it is only 2 steps to the trash can. Use it for organics only, if you will, or just for any old garbage. Touching the nasty trash cabinet to toss waste as you cook does require a hand washing everytime. The bowl seems like a time saver and a good idea. Of course marketing is everything and any old bowl will do the same. But it is, after all, an official Rachel Ray garbage bowl!

  • Missy’s Italiarican Kitchen

    I think the concept of a garbage bowl is a good idea and I think it’s unfair to criticize RR as being someone who doesn’t care about anything. I understand your reasoning concerning composting, but I think you’re really nitpicking and using RR as a convenient target because of her immense popularity.

    Like Rachel, I am also a cook and a garbage bowl certainly comes in handy when you’re making dishes that require your constant attention in order to cook properly (like eggs, for example) and not burn. Even a few seconds away from the stove could mean the difference between a fluffy omelette and a pan full of flaky burnt yolk.

    I also live in a small apartment and have an equally small kitchen. A garbage bowl is a good idea for large kitchens where the trash can may be farther than one foot from the stove or counter top. But it’s also good because when you’re handling food you really don’t want to come in contact with your trash can, a bin of rotting, spoiled waste. And who wants to wash their hands eight or nine times while cooking?

    Your heart is in the right place but I think the anti-RR rant is inappropriate. As one person said above, you can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar.

  • Maggie93215

    Garbage bowl makes no sense when the trash is there but whatever works for her I guess she is the one with the show!!

  • Dew

    Frankly those opposing the GB are sort of missing the point.
    1) People buy luxury items ALL THE TIME… Why spend $300 on a kitchen aid blender when a hand blender works too?? All luxury/pampered items, fancy cooking accessories, blenders, toaster ovens, oven mits (why not use towels).
    2) The bowl can be used for other stuff too!! Fruit, popcorn… it’s non-porous and won’t take on flavour/stink/scent, etc.
    3) It looks nice to be out on the counter top. Let’s face it, some people like to have perfectly ‘clean’ and elegant kitchens.