I am always a bit envious of people whose kitchens are gloriously covered in granite or marble. My poor little kitchen’s counter tops are simple white veneer that is starting to peel up in spots. Not exactly photogenic. Luckily, I have two new butcher block topped islands that we were able to pick up at IKEA for a very decent price. And today, I made another fantastic discovery.
I’ve been meaning to head down to a stone shop to see what they had in the way of slate or tile to use as a backdrop for a while now. I had seen a slate cheese board in Beechers the other day which was gorgeous, but was also about $75… more than I wanted to spend. I thought perhaps a supplier might have some fragments for a bit less. So after a bit of searching, I decided to head down to Michelangelo Marble that is deep south Seattle, almost into Boeing Field. I love heavy industrial areas like this. Places where the business specifically have to put “open to the public” on their store fronts. I wandered into the show room and was stunned at the sheer amount of gorgeous marbles and other stonework. After a while of wandering around by myself, I headed up to ask if they had any scraps. Yes, I learned, they did… but it meant driving over to their stone yard which luckily was only a few blocks away. It was drizzling fairly heavily, but I decided to give it a shot.
As we entered the yard, I was shown their “remnants” which were about the size of my kitchen. These pieces would run about $30 to $70… not bad for about 15 square feet of marble. However, not really what I was looking for. I needed something that I could actually lift. I asked if they had smaller pieces. I really wanted something about the size of a tile and as we wandered, I saw a large fragment (about two feet by three feet) of gorgeous green marble laying discard on the ground. I pointed to the piece, and asked how much. Much to my surprise, he said “Oh, that? You want that? You can just take it.” Jackpot! I wandered around a bit more and found 6 more pieces of various stone with gorgeous textures, colors and wonderfully rough edges.
Thinking that I was perhaps over-taxing his generosity, I sheepishly asked if I could have those pieces as well. No problem! He even carried them all out to my car. At that point, I really wanted to look around to see what else I could find, but we were getting pretty wet and I decided it could wait for another day.
Anyway, there is a moral to this story. There are plenty of places to find great props for food photography for very little money, if not free. (and if you are looking for stone top counters in the Seattle area, definitely do yourself a favor and head down to Michelangelos!)
*One note on stone: Not all stone is food safe, so if you are using scraps and remnants, it’s best not to eat the food placed directly on the stone or make sure that you properly seal it.