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Monday, October 14, 2019



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 Fortunoff's.  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?

Re-run from November 2013


  1. I've never had a throw-up bowl, but we did have buckets in the laundry that got used for all kinds of things, including throw-up. In the early stages of things like chicken pox and measles, the kids would stay in bed because of the nausea inducing headache and fever, with a bucket beside the bed. Usually that only lasted a day, then they were up and about, covered in whatever spots developed and the bucket went back into the laundry. there was also an old ice cream bucket kept in the car and #2 daughter carried it on her lap for the whole trip, just in case. Apart from that, my kids didn't get sick.

  2. Not too much sickness around in my early days. Something to do with the sort of food available. So,
    no throw-up bowls in our house. If I felt sick I was rushed straight to the outside loo. No indoor toilets for us in those days.

  3. Nope. New one on me and I thought I had heard of everything.
    I have spent time Hugging porcelain (later in life) and hurling off of the back deck but never a bowl.

  4. Our’s was silver metal but was only used when pre-warned of an incident. Timing is everything with the throw-up bowl and a towel was more convenient when rushing to a sick child. It is easier when you live on one floor

  5. My oldest was the Vomit Queen and she still reigns at age 30 (pregnancy has brought out the worst in her). She used a blue plastic dishwashing pan (the kind that fits in a sink) and kept it under her bed for years. It's now in our laundry room for recyclables.

  6. I have a yellow mixing bowl like that one you pictured. Thankfully I don't use it much. Growing up when sick my mom would like a little garbage can with a plastic bag. Made cleanup easier.


  7. Bwahahahahahahahaha. No I've never had a throw up bowl. Never. I laughed till I cried.

    I also linked this post to Happy Tuesday.

    Have a fabulous day, Joe. 😎

  8. Sure can't remember a special bowl for tossing my cookies. Not a bad idea though. I might have hurled on the floor some but mostly made it to the bathroom.

  9. Ours, when I was a kid, was metal with a wide rim.
    When I had my own kids I just got a galvanized bucket.
    Now I think there's some kind of law about hazardous waste.

  10. We have a big bowl and it is yellow. I use it for making bread. Now . . . I dunno. You may have ruined it for me. :^)

  11. We use a bucket and it's never for used for anything else. You don't touch my bowls for throw up, gross.

  12. As a kid, we used a towel, laid beside us when we went to bed feeling queasy. Gross. I could never do that. With my own boys, I used a brown plastic bowl from a set I bought (big discount) when I worked as a pricer at an insurance salvage store. There's a great big one, and a small one, depending on the size of the boy at the time. They were also taken along in the car.

    It was double-washed, and put back into the kitchen rotation. Sheesh! It's not like a strainer somebody used to find a swallowed dental crown! THAT would have to be burned.

  13. No, we used a small garbage can. No chance of accidentally using it for the soda bread.

  14. Yup. We had one. Never used it for ANYTHING else.

  15. you reminded me so many incidents from my childhood dear Joe
    yes my mom had red bucket of plastic and we would use it rough specially when someone is sick and could not go out for vomiting because our washroom was in yard
    once my mom was suddenly ill and stated to bleed through nose and i cannot forget how full that bucket was with blood
    i still find it horrible