Most all my bowls are designed for kitchen use, even the fancy ones, such as the bowls with a walnut embedded in the wall. These bowls will probably be finished with orange wax, my favorite coating.
I took some "lathe" classes at Caldwell Community College when I first got into turning. One of the things stressed was this: if you want to sell your turnings, a glossy finish is a must. I found this to be true when I first had a chance to offer my wares for sale. So polyurethane, lacquer or some other chemical coating that leaves a shiny finish would have to be used on the items I would offer. However, most of these coatings are not conducive to eating out of and scratched easily. My alternative is a finish that LOOKS like it's coated with poly, but isn't. I start with 36 or 40 grit and go through 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, 220, 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, and 1200 grit sand paper and then buff with Tripoli and white diamond buffing compounds. Finally, I apply a coating of wax. If I use orange wax, I take a generous portion on a small square of cotton cloth and rub it in, in every direction until the wood is soaked with it. I then let it dry and buff again until it shines to my likeness. And now you have a finish on your bowl that looks like acrylic but is only wax: safe, easy to care for and always food safe. Carnauba wax is applied with a buffing wheel but is not as thick of a finish as is the orange wax treatment.
PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING SUGGESTIONS FOR USE AND CARE FOR YOUR BOWL. EACH BOWL HAS A SERIAL NUMBER PRINTED ON THE BOTTOM.
Never soak your bowl in water or leave it in the sink where water may splash into it and stand. Never put wooden items in a dishwasher, microwave or conventional oven as this subjects them to extreme heat and moisture, both which will damage them. Do not allow bowls to sit in the sunlight, they might crack.
Gently wash the bowl inside and out, using a non-abrasive cloth or pad, warm water and mild dish soap. Rinse the bowl completely with warm water. Dry the bowl with a clean cloth or paper towel immediately. Allow to completely air dry.
Do not allow food to dry on the surface of the bowl. Doing so will make it difficult to remove and possibly cause the surface to be scratched trying to clean it.
Once the bowl is in use, it will show wear and tear. When you want to refresh the finish, or when the bowl appears to be "dried out" (sometimes the color will appear faded), apply a coat or two of mineral oil or orange wax. Mineral oil is often used as a laxative and can be found in your pharmacy or grocery store. Avoid olive oil, vegetable oil or other kitchen products that could become rancid. Sanitize with a one to five dilution of vinegar to water. Flood the surface with the vinegar solution, then rinse and wipe dry. Once dry, re-coat with your choice of finish.
I recommend "Town Talk" orange wax. This is a high quality wax and a regular 'rubbing in' of this wax will help your bowl last for generations. If your serial number corresponds to "orange wax", then this is the brand it was coated with. When dry, 'rub in' a coat, allow it to dry for a few minutes and buff to a moderate shine with an old white sock or other clean soft cloth. Bowling Alley wax will work well also. NEVER USE "PLEDGE" TYPE COATINGS.
As your bowls age over the years they will develop a warm, rich patina and will become treasured family heirlooms.