My daughter loves using food trays, and I think kids in general like to put them to good use. Until those little hands get bigger and more coordinated, a good tray can be very useful. What my daughter likes to do is prepare surprise meals for me. She lays out a spread of fruits, veggies, hummus, and crackers on a tray and surprises me with a mid-day snack. I really love it, and now I have a soft spot for food trays.
So today I came across this beautiful tray sold by the Scandinavian Design depot, Huset. Scandinavian design seems perfect for kids. The colors, clean lines, and whimsical images just seem to fit into a kid’s life so well. Or maybe I just like it because my whole family originally came from Scandinavia, and I grew up with these types of images.
Regardless, there are several items at Huset that seem appropriate for kids. The ‘kids’ section has some, but if you troll around the site a lot of items will pop out. I especially like the products by: Rice dk, Lotta Kuhlhorn, and Almedahls. The Almedahls tray above costs $36.
Ok, I know that this bowl set might not appeal to all kids, but I could definitely see the intrigue that some kids would have with it. Whether the child loves to stack things or just wants a fancy plate to eat on, this dish could be a good addition to the dining routine. Of course, I could also see my daughter taking it to her bedroom to play fairies with and never see it again. Oh well. And some pieces may get lost too.
Regardless, what I would probably do is use it for a picky eater. I’d stack the bowls and put food in the top dish. Once the child was done, they’d get to go to the next layer and so on, and once they get to the green dish, that means dessert. Just an idea, but it might work.
You can buy the bowl at Amazon or at MoMA for around $30. The bowls are produced by Zak Designs and they actually have a whole garden series of nesting serving bowls. I think the daisy ones are best though.
I love the clean styling of Beth Mueller’s ceramics. Each item is hand painted, glazed in white, and usually adorned with some sort of short message or word. If you visit her website, you will see a large selection of items she has to offer, to include vases, dishes, and vessels of all shape and size. She also makes paper and cloth products too.
Beth studied art in college, but also studied print making in Italy and apprenticed to a potter in Detroit. Wherever her training comes from though, the combination is brilliant; she produces strikingly simple yet elegant pieces.
Her pieces would make great gifts for almost any occasion and can be found at several sites online. Some places to check out are Uncommon Goods, Zanisa, and Artful Home, and you can even purchase her milk bottle vases through Amazon.
I really like the simple, elegant look of the Crudo tableware line from Atipico out of Italy. It is the product of five designers in search of simple, honest eating integrated with the grace of earthy materials. ‘Crudo’ means ‘raw’ in Italian and is an apt name for the tableware line. A description in the catalog says, “The strength of invisible fire bakes the matter while leaving its meaning raw and intact.” I kind of like that, and the black clay earthiness of some of the pieces definitely gives that feeling.
I particularly like the covered bowl set and the oblong serving platter with white glaze. As summer is on its way, I could see many uses for the covered bowl and the platter begs to have a grilled side of halibut on it.
Now comes the hard part: waiting. I can’t find this available for sale, and I am not sure if it is in commercial production yet. The line was just introduced in January 2010 and was in this month’s issue of Wallpaper*, so maybe later in the year it will start to come out in Europe and after that in the US.
After making colored eggs for Easter, I ran into these interesting egg pillows from Vacu Vin. I don’t know at this point if the jokes about having pillows for eggs would be worth it, but if you have kids it might be a nice way to introduce hard-boiled eggs into their diet
But let’s be honest, if you have kids these pillows will be used for everything else but eggs and most likely be in some dollhouse somewhere. It’s worth a try though and they are dishwasher safe, so once the little ones lose interest, just pop them in the dishwasher, clean them up, and let them serve their intended purpose.
I haven’t been able to find this product on sale in the US, but this site from Germany offers them for 9.95 Euro (about $14). It doesn’t look as if they they ship to the United States since it isn’t even an option during checkout, but maybe if you sweet talk customer service they will find a way to get it to you. With that said, the Egg Pillow is a new product from Vacu Vin, so I am sure it will eventually be sold here; you’ll just have to wait.
These animal plates from J.K. Adams are rather interesting. They are made out of Vermont maple and have a different animal engraved onto each one. They would be great picnic options, serving platters for meats and cheeses, or just to use as kids plates.
Please note, however, that since the plates are wood, they are not dishwasher safe.
One plate will cost $25 and a set of eight will run you $190, but one or two would definitely be nice for serving plates. You can purchase them from The Kitchen Store at J.K. Adams.
A couple of weeks ago I was at Kitchen Window in Minneapolis and saw for the first time that Epicurean, which is normally associated with cutting boards, is now producing kitchen utensils. They have a series of spoons, ladles, turner spatulas, pasta servers, and saute tools that come in two lines and colors. The Kitchen Series is completely made out of their trademark composite wood and comes in natural and slate, just like their cutting boards. The Gourmet Series also comes in natural and slate but incorporates a high-temperature nylon head.
I ended up purchasing the Gourmet Series slate-colored spoon and large spatula to try them out (shown above), and though I haven’t used them that much, so far I like them a lot. The handles are very comfortable, the construction is stiff and sturdy, and the nylon heads seem to be firmly attached. The utensils do feel as if they will be durable – though it is hard to tell at this point. As for heat resistance, the wood handle can manage up to 350 degrees and the nylon head up to 400 degrees, and they are also dishwasher safe.
Additionally, I think they look better than other plastic utensils, and the spoon has measuring ridges on the interior for 1 tbs, 1/8 cup, and 1/4 cup. It isn’t something that you would use for precise measuring as you need to have the spoon very steady and level to get exact amounts, but this feature may come in handy for a quick-and-dirty measure if you need it. I could see myself using this feature when adding olive oil to a dish, broth to some risotto, or if you need to add some pasta water back into a dish.
The price is also reasonable at about $9.50 per utensil from the Epicurean website, or you can buy selected items at Amazon for $7.95, but at time of writing there was only one vendor selling through Amazon and the shipping cost was really high. I am sure that will change in the coming months, but for now if you purchase directly through Epicurean, you can get free shipping on orders over $75 through December 15th.
As Thanksgiving is approaching, sauces and other condiments come into play a lot more at the table. If you want something a bit more elegant than a regular piece of flatware or if you have a salt cellar that needs a spoon, this set would be an interesting addition. Each spoon has an herb on it (parsley, sage, rosemary, lavender and laurel) and comes in a simple white porcelain.
You can buy them at The Gardner for $26.