Mi sembra che in questa situazione il topo e il soggetto e il formaggio e l'oggeto. =8-)
Ummm... It's my first culinary experiment! :) Unsuccessful, as it appears...
The English translation is super awkward, as we'd ask, "What's in the bowl?" Does the Italian sentence sound good to a native's ear, or is it also clunky?
Absolutely, it is the same thing. Maybe not in Italian, but in English translation.
If we say 'what is the object in the bowl?' this is a question requiring as an answer e.g. the object in the bowl is an apple. It is then clear that what the object in the bowl is, is an apple, therefore you have told the questioner what the object is, in the bowl.