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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

THE THROW-UP BOWL - a cranky re-run

 You never know what post people will find interesting.  This post from November 2012 garnered lots of comments and apparently many not so fond yet humorous memories.  Strange how vomit can be funny when remembered many years later.

Do all families have a “throw-up bowl,” or is it just mine?  When I was a kid ours was a large yellow bowl.  I never thought about it growing up, but how did this bowl become the throw-up bowl?

I’m pretty sure my parents did not get it as a wedding present. 

“What is this?  Oh wait, I know, it’s a throw-up bowl.”

“Oooh! Pretty!”

No, no one registers for a throw-up bowl at Fortunoffs.  Bowls are not marketed and sold as “throw-up bowls.” 

The throw-up bowl could have been used as a mixing bowl, but no, it had one use and one use only.  It was located in the front of a cabinet where the shortest family member could reach it when needed.  With three growing boys it was used in my family a lot.

“Mom, I don’t feel so good.”

“Does your tummy hurt?”


“JIM, CHRIS, get the throw-up bowl…QUICK!”

No one ever asked, “Which bowl mom?” or “Where is it?” Everyone knew what it was and where to find the throw-up bowl. 

Twice a year we had throw-up bowl drills. 

Years later, married and with my first child I realized how the throw-up bowl was chosen.  My daughter was two and feeling sick.

“Is it your tummy honey?”


“Hold on, I’ll be right back.” 

I raced downstairs to the kitchen, grabbed the first bowl I could find, a big yellow mixing bowl, and raced upstairs.

The wife wanted to know, “Where are you going with that bowl.”

“Just a minute, Mary Beth is sick.”

“Wait, that’s my best mixing bowl!”

“ARRRGAH, ARRgah, Arg.”

“Not my mixing bowl, that’s my best bowl!”

“AARRGAH, AARRG, Arg, arg, ar.”

“’s the throw-up bowl now.”

We bought a new mixing bowl, but it never got as much use as that big yellow throw-up bowl.

After my first divorce I somehow got custody of the big yellow bowl.  My children were basically grown and out of the throw-up stage, but I still kept that bowl where it was easily reached.

Mrs. Wife #2 made terrific Irish soda bread.  On our first St. Paddy’s Day she made a batch.  I cut a slice, slathered it with butter, and was about to take a bite when I noticed the yellow bowl in the sink.

“I can’t eat this.”

“Why not, it’s good.”

“You made it in the throw-up bowl!”


We discarded that batch of soda bread. 

We put the yellow bowl away, never to be used again…until we had Spencer.

Does every family with children have a throw-up bowl?  Are they always yellow?


  1. I remember reading this post and thinking this is a blog I need to follow. And I enjoyed reading it a second time. Take care and Happy Humpday.

  2. My family had the some bowl but due to lack of imagination only ever used it as a mixing bowl.
    I just got of the phone with my daughter who could have used that bowl last night....for a sick 5 year old who had eaten too many raspberries.

  3. We had more of a "throw-up garbage can". Either that or you were sent to hang over the big white phone. Talking to "Beulah".

  4. we had a bucket - a plastic pail from the old ice cream days.

  5. Growing up we had a bucket. My moms only rule was if you tried to run for the toilet and didn't make it, you would be cleaning up that mess!

  6. I can't believe I didn't comment when you posted this last year.

    When I was a kid, we had a bed pan that doubled as a throw-up bowl.

    Now we have enough plastic waste basket that one is always available for that purpose.
    We try to keep liners in them all so clean up is a snap.

    Did you know Beulah's last name is O'Rourke; and she has two brothers, Ralph and Roy?

  7. I remember listing a throw up bowl (yellow) in my bridal registry but somehow never got one--just some lousy china & sterling!!

  8. Brown plastic here. It travels well.

  9. ours was a bucket 'cuz, ya know, some times a bowl just ain't enough for all ya got. and that's about all i got on that.

    and no ordinary bucket will do. this one dates from our time on the farm some 50 years ago and it has served faithfully as barf bait since roughly 1967. them was the days.

  10. That big yellow bowl was part of a four-bowl Pyrex set; the others in our set were green, blue, and red. They are now collectibles, apparently. You can find pictures on the Internet and I've seen them in antique shops. We didn't have a throw-up bowl; we had to make it to the bathroom and toss our cookies into the toilet. And I probably couldn't have eaten that soda bread either.

  11. i grew up calling it the barf bucket. when i was a kid it was a large plastic, bucket shaped sand scoop. pretty effective what with the handle and all.

    the barf bucket my kids use is just a big plastic basin.