I suppose this isn’t so much about how to warm a bowl for soup as it is a persuasion to warm a bowl. At Tante Marie’s, it was a student’s job every day to warm the bowls and plates for lunch. To forget to do this was as much a problem as failing to salt the soup properly.
It’s simply that a warm bowl is going to hold the heat of the soup longer and give you the true flavor of your soup longer (so you can eat slower), and greater enjoyment of your meal. A cold bowl or plate makes you want to eat fast before everything gets cold, and it steals all of the thunder from your hard work, even if that work was simply opening a can (or in my case, a jar of wonderful Drummond Island tomato-roasted garlic-dill soup, from Bohica Farm).
Maybe it’s just me being up here in the north country, but every dish in the cupboard right now is freezing cold. That’s fine if I’m serving up a scoop of ice cream, but for my soup or my sup, I’m running my dish under hot water and letting it sit in the warmth for a few minutes, then drying it off, then serving it up.
For larger quantities of dishes, warm up the oven to its lowest setting and place stacks of dishes and bowls in. Take them out just before serving. If they get too hot, use hot pads and let them cool off slightly before serving. Better not to serve with a mitt on your hand, though restaurants seem to be just fine with that, and telling you to beware of the hot plate.
Warming bowls and plates is a small gesture, but an easy one that makes food taste better, and more importantly, slows us down in all the right ways.