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Eating | Manolo for the Home - Part 5
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TV Dinners Require TV Trays

And by TV dinners I of course mean dinners eaten in front of the television, which is how most meals in my home are consumed, much to my horror. I’m enjoying it while I can — once my children are old enough to appreciate the whole family thing, dinners will be consumed as a family at the kitchen table. We don’t have a dining room, or else I suppose we’d be eating in it. For now, The Beard and I balance our dinner plates on our knees with our feet on the coffee table in the den. Ah, childfree living…I shall miss you.


Maybe I should get one of these sweet retro TV trays from Koo Koo Bear while I still can? Okay, maybe not in this economy. Like Twistie and I were saying the other day, the houses in our heads are getting upgrades while the houses we actually live in will have to do that much longer. For now, answer me this:

Mikasa + Amy Butler = Lovely But Tame


I’m quite the fan of Amy Butler, so when I heard she’d teamed up with Mikasa to produce a line of dishware, my heart was all aflutter. But now that I’ve seen the results, my reaction is basically “meh.” All in all, the line is kind of tame — there are so many wonderfully bold Amy Butler patterns out there that would make smashing dishes. Like this, this, and this, for instance!

Vintage Cake Carriers, Yum!

I lust after vintage kitchen gadgets, as my family well knows. Occasionally, said gadgets even come in handy, like the other day when I finally got fed up with the hand mixer that has five speeds only if ultra fast, mega fast, insanely fast, speed of light, and spraying batter everywhere are actual speeds. My old hand-cranked egg beater saved the day, and the modern hand mixer was tossed into the box destined for the Goodwill.

Cake carriers

Speaking of batter, I am currently drooling over all of the vintage cake carriers on eBay. Luckily, they tend to be relatively inexpensive as vintage kitchen gadgets go. In case you’re thinking that they’re pretty, but useless, these babies are great for those of us who like to bake for parties and have suffered the humiliation of driving 20 miles under the speed limit with our hazards on because there was a cake on the passenger side floor. The best cake carriers are multi-tiered — carry a cake and a pie! — and spring-loaded for safety. The heavier the cake, the stronger the seal, so you don’t have to worry about nasty accidents.

A Kitchen In Pieces

Fantasizing about the perfect kitchen is a hobby of mine. Mine is small, so inevitably I picture something very open, very airy, and rustic without being too Little House On the Prairie. I do not live on a working farm or in a French chalet, and I don’t want to cop those looks in their entirety. In much the same way a fireplace would look out of place in my living room, a huge scarred table or a deep copper sink would look pretty ridiculous in my kitchen. C’est la vie!

So what do I do? I look for bits and pieces of homey goodness I can incorporate into my decor until that day comes I can afford to have contractors gut and rebuild my cozy little cottage.

Peroba Hanging Wall Shelves ($25 surcharge)

Small spaces with even smaller amounts of storage are not a problem when you use shelving creatively. These reclaimed peroba wall shelves don’t take up too much room, but they clear some countertop real estate.


Feasting Outdoors…While There’s Still Time

The weather where I live has been nice…deceptively nice, in fact. Is this what they call Indian Summer, when it’s t-shirt weather in the middle of October? Whatever you want to call it, we’re suddenly enjoying strolling weather…croquet weather…picnic weather! Who cares if sweatshirts become a necessity once the sun begins to set? My grandparents eat out-of-doors until the trees are utterly naked!

Picnic baskets

Studio LX has four pages of fancy picnic baskets so those of us who have already retired our patio furniture for the winter can still dine outside when the weather gods decide to bless us with a day that is less than frigid. My favorites are the baskets on the upper left and the bottom right, but if none of the baskets above tickle your fancy, there are tons more to choose from.

Breakfast Nooks, Four Ways

I always wanted a breakfast nook — what I got instead was a kitchen that’s the size of some nooks. The fact that I really like saying the word ‘nook’ aside, having a cozy, sunny, family-oriented space in which to eat breakfast and other casual meals is a wonderful thing.

Breakfast Nook
Via Cottage Living


Eat, Drink, and Be Colorful

Maybe it’s because I grew up in homes where most of the flatware was acquired secondhand. Maybe it’s because I was frequently taken to restaurants in an era in which mismatched flatware was considered the height of chic. Or maybe it’s because I’ve never really thought about picking out my china pattern with any degree of seriousness.

Pfaltzgraff is hard to spellA tree grows...on your plateI love chocolate mint!
Very Mexican restaurant, but nice nonethelessThis is where the cock jokes start...Orange you glad I found these?

Whatever the reason for my slightly schizoid kitchenware preferences, I’ll take two of each of these, please. If you’re as crazy as I am, click the pics for more info!

Snap, Dine, and Go

Designer Demelza Hill is fascinated by the manner in which people interact with the products in their environments. To challenge the assumptions we all make, she repurposes and redesigns everyday items to create something designed to remind us of that which we take for granted. Or something like that…I love artist’s statements!

It’s fancier than the cutlery used at my own wedding

Snap and Dine, Hill’s web site says, is a single use three-course place setting that brings together the formal and the disposable. It is meant to inspire mental images of stylish outdoor eating.

Hey, where’s the party?

It’s quirky, but useful in its way. If you’re going to eat on the go, you might as well do it with a touch of panache, right? I wish I could have bought these for my wedding.

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