Retro Classic: The Tray Table

When I was much younger we spent a few weeks each summer on the Cape with my Dad's parents.  My grandparents' house was marvelously kitch: my favorite feature was the screened-in astro-turf porch.  Always the entrepreneur, I spent our weeks on vacation forcing my sister to participate in my business endeavors: a lemonade stand, handmade crafts, whatever I could muster together.  But I particularly loved my visits to Grammy Dean because she used phrases like "to hell in a handbasket", kept a batch of homemade mac & cheese at the ready and hot fudge in the fridge and best of all: she let me eat Skippy peanut butter by the spoonful (at home we were only allowed the Smuckers all-natural stuff).

My Dad recently told me that there had been a fire in their house in Massachusetts in 1958 and so every stick of furniture in my grandparents' house was replaced that year.  I wonder if that's where my love affair with mid-century modern began?  In any case, it should come as no surprise that my grandparents had a stock of tray tables, a retro favorite.  Instead of eating breakfast at the dining room table with the adults we were given special permission to set up tray tables in front of the TV, eat sugar cereal and watch the one of the two movies we had on hand: JAWS and One Crazy Summer.  It was heaven.

Tray tables are no longer a household staple, but you can easily make one by covering your breakfast tray with a linen cloth and placing it on a spare stool for some extra entertaining space.  Keep it simple and retro with a small, wildflower arrangement, salt & vinegar potato chips and crudite.  If you're feeling extra fancy pick up some chocolate covered potato chips at Royce Chocolate at one of their new popup shops on Madison Avenue or Bleecker Street.  Royce makes the finest chocolate Japan has to offer and your life hasn't begun until you've tasted some!  Their offerings are only very recently available in the U.S. and would also make for an exquisite hostess gift.

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