(Image credit: Dana Velden)

Why is this toy cow hanging out on a cheese tray? Is it a kid's idea of a playful trick or a clever way to convey a little information about the cheese? Perhaps it is both!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

At a gathering a few years ago, a friend's child playfully stuck some of his plastic action figures around the buffet table when his mum wasn't looking. It was a fun prank and everyone laughed but it got me to thinking. Wouldn't it be fun to use those plastic farm figures to identify what kind of milk was used in cheeses on a cheese tray?

So I kept my eye out and started to gather goat, sheep and cow figures. (Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that the 'cow' in this photo is actually a steer but the general idea still holds.) Now, whenever I put out a cheese tray, I include the appropriate beast to help give a little more information about the cheese being served. It's a great icebreaker and also serves as a reminder of our connection to the farm and to the animals that provide our food. 

And of course, kids just love it (although not always the cheese!).

(Images: Dana Velden)