I saw these six-dollar butcher trays at the art store a few years ago and instantly knew they'd find a place in my kitchen. At first I thought I'd get a bunch and use them as cafeteria-style lunch trays at big dinner parties. What about a serving tray for cookies? Refrigerator organizer? Fruit bowl? Potato holder? How about all of the above?
Made from porcelain enamel over steel, butcher trays often come with a little chip or two around the edge, but this doesn't bother me: more antique French country house and less boring cookie-cutter design. Butcher trays, obviously were originally made for the meat industry, but they are now most often used by artists to mix paint and water.
And now for cooks. Here are some ways you could use these trays in your kitchen:
• Organize your refrigerator with a series of trays: condiments on one, yogurts on an other, cheese on another, you get the idea.
• Serve guests hors d'oeuvres or little individual desserts from a tray or a series of trays.
• Use trays for decorating the table: candles clustered on one, flowers on another.
• Organize your pre-chopped ingredients for a meal.
• Use trays as a fruit-bowl on a counter-top: one for root vegetables, one for fruit, one for apples (which should be kept separate from other produce)
• Use them at a buffet like a cafeteria tray.
Butcher trays online:
• Pearl Paint (7.5"x11", $5 - 13"x17", $10)
• Blick Art Materials (11"x15", $6.91 - 14"x18", $8.55)
• Amazon.com (7.5x11", $7.50 - 13"x17",$14.99)
• Art Supply Warehouse (11"x15", $6.49)
• Mister Art (7.5"x11", $4.50 - 13"x17", $8.61)
(Images: series of trays from Amazon.com, tray with potatoes by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan for The Kitchn)