Posts Tagged With: cutting board

Good food always deserves better (and sometimes bad food does too)!

This is the third in a series of posts I have written about Kentucky Crafted products for the kitchen and table.  I truly love functional pieces of art, and the vessels for your food should reflect the work and care you put into the cooking process. If you want to use paper plates, then just serve up a bunch of Hot Pockets and Cheetos. Don’t go to the trouble of brining and basting a turkey if you’re just going to serve it in disposable aluminum bakeware. Good food deserves better than to be served on trash.

You’re probably thinking, “Well, that’s mighty judgmental. Not everyone has the time and energy to whip up a seven course meal to be served on fancy artisan-made trays. I have a life, and the holidays are a busy time!”  And, you would be partially correct. Even though the holiday season starts before Halloween now, somehow actual holiday minutes and hours seem limited. I still say that’s no excuse. Even if the food you make is not worth topping with shaved truffles, you might be able to compensate with elegant Kentucky Crafted kitchen solutions.  Replace your lack of time with an abundance of class.  Great dinnerware isn’t just for the foodies. For example:

At least pour the eggnog into a pitcher instead of implying that guests should drink it straight from the carton like a teenage boy looking for a midnight snack.

Caroline Zama Pitcher

Caroline Zama Pitcher

Take the premade, store-brand dinner rolls out of the bag and toss them in a basket.

Madonna Cash Basket

Madonna Cash Basket

They don’t know it’s a bagged salad, and you prove nothing by announcing it proudly.

Jerry Hollon Cutting Board and J.D. Schall Serving Bowl

Jerry Hollon Cutting Board and J.D. Schall Serving Bowl

We know you didn’t hand press the cider this morning or even bother to mull it, but put it in a decent mug.

Amelia Stamps Mugs

Amelia Stamps Mugs

Would it hurt you to drink wine from a bottle instead of a box for this special occasion?

Yardbirds Wine Caddy

Yardbirds Wine Caddy

If the extent of your culinary repertoire is chips and dip, then you should own a chip n’ dip set.

Melvin Rowe Chip and Dip Set

Melvin Rowe Chip and Dip Set

Happy holidays, and thanks for being a good sport. I hope you don’t mind me poking a little fun. The true spirit of the season is fellowship. We should be glad we’re rushing around to spend time with friends and family; that’s the good kind of busy! When you get that text message an hour before an impromptu gathering saying, “Come on over. No big deal. Just a few friends sharing laughs,” and all you have in the house is a half-eaten bag of grapes and a partial brick of cheddar cheese — if you have the right serving option available, you can fake-gourmet your way out of the awkwardness.

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

Categories: Visual Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Give a gift from Kentucky: good food deserves better!

Let’s be real. When you tell people that you will be entertaining for the holidays, it really means you will be serving a bunch of fattening foods and beverages in your brilliantly decorated home. The good thing is your guests are okay with that. They are not going to be impressed by your festive music (we’ve heard all those songs forty times each by now), and they can enjoy your lively conversation over the phone. Going to your house is the only way they can eat outrageous food, enjoy your home’s ambience and possibly peep into your medicine cabinet.

If the food is the focus, then this is not a time to go cheap and easy with the red Solo cups and paper plates. If you are going to all the trouble to fix holiday specialties, then serve them using deserving kitchen and dining ware. As one Kentucky Community Scholar in Paducah told me, “Good food deserves better than to be served on trash.” There are several Kentucky Crafted artists working in multiple media who make beautiful and functional items for your holiday table.


Harriet Giles, the Weavery 

The first thing you need for your table is a solid foundation, which includes placemats, napkins, table runners and table cloths. You want something to defend your table from heat and spills, but you also want it to be attractive. Harriet Giles of the Weavery has the perfect woven runner and placemat patterns for that. Festiva© is made from chili pepper and olive fabric with a sprinkle of white. Porcelain© is a blend of blues and cream that evoke the chilly joy of New Year’s Eve. The colors are perfect, and the woven texture is thick enough to protect.

Harriet Giles

The aptly named Festiva©


Craig Kaviar, Kaviar Forge and Gallery

The next thing you need is something to set the mood and serve as the centerpiece of your table. Candlestick holders take on both tasks all year round. All you have to do is change the candles to match your textiles. Craig Kaviar makes tough metal holders that appear as delicate as glass and as flexible as fabric. The pieces are tall and add height to décor. Did you know that dimming the electric light and using candles hides dust?

There is nothing dull about iron.


Robert Ellis, Robert Ellis Woodworking

Now you must lay out something to hold people over while you finish the last of your baked dishes, but you don’t want to overwhelm them before the “main event.” What’s easier and more elegant than a cheese board? Just unwrap the cheeses, put them on a wooden board, garnish with grapes and let people serve themselves. Robert Ellis makes exquisite cutting boards in a number of shapes and styles. They are almost too beautiful to use, but Robert reminds his customers, “there are two sides, one for show and the other to cut or serve on.”

Too beautiful to use, but we will anyway.


Scott Gilbert, GH Productions Inc—The Basket Makers 

Baskets are one of the first functional pieces of art humans endeavored to make. They’re light and sturdy with the added benefit that items in baskets tend to arrange themselves! Crackers, breads, whole fruits, cutlery and napkins all look great in a basket. Scott Gilbert makes baskets in a variety of traditional styles using white oak. Use the classic egg basket to keep rolls from crushing under their own weight. It works for the eggs!

It's okay to put all your eggs in this particular basket.


Melvin Rowe, Pottery Rowe

Melvin Rowe can make a whole set of bakeware and an entire tablescape. Of his work, he writes, “In clay, I have found a material that allows me to make almost anything.” That’s not an exaggeration. Just look at his gallery. He has everything from wine glasses to casserole dishes. If you’re looking for the right tool to improve your baking, he offers Colonel Mel’s New Fangled Modern Miracle Bread Baker & Colonel Mel’s Practically Perfect Pottery Pie Plate. Both have been tested and approved by Aunt Gertrude and the entire Lady’s Auxiliary, according to his website. He even makes cookie dunkers, a cup specifically designed for dunking cookies in milk to “allow maximum dunking coverage with minimum milk waste.” Won’t Santa be impressed?

You can read all my advice, or your could just buy this and call it a day.


Mark Payton, Payton Flameworks Inc.

Now for the pièce de résistance. It’s time for a toast, and it’s bad luck to toast the New Year in an ugly glass. Luckily Mark Payton makes beautiful toasting goblets and champagne flutes just for such an occasion. When you finish, you can cork the bottle (if there is anything left!) with one of his elegant or whimsical bottle stoppers.

Now these are "good luck" goblets.

I could have written a book on this topic using only Kentucky Crafted artists. For the sake of time and space, I had to leave out some really great examples like salt and pepper grinders by Carl Hall, baked brie dishes by Amelia Stamps, wooden trivets and bowls by Richard Adams, table rugs by Fox Hutt and wine racks by Jim Jones. Explore their galleries. Even if you are not hosting, you might find something appropriate for the host or hostess’ gift basket.

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

Categories: Visual Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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