This photo won't win any beauty contests. But it shows off one of my favorite household products, the pizza stone. We first received a pizza stone as a wedding gift from my brother and his wife. We put it away in the closet for several years until some friends came over to teach us how to make homemade pizza. We've been using it ever since. Truth be told, we broke the original model years ago.
Used correctly, the stone gets uglier with age. It works much better after you've cooked on it quite a lot. Cooking items with a relatively high fat content darkens (or seasons it) even faster. On one of our new pizza stones we baked several batches of chocolate chip cookies. While it was admittedly better for the stone than for the cookies, it speeded up the seasoning process considerably. We weren't all that sorry about enduring the crispy cookies.
The purpose of the stone is to crisp up the crust. To call this a pizza stone is a little bit limiting. We actually bake all kinds of items on it. It's especially good for artisan breads. Place hand made loaves on the stone, pour a cup of water in a heated pan on the bottom shelf of the oven, and you're bound to pull out crispy, beautiful loaves.
We haven't found pizza stones all that easy to locate. Our local grocery store carried them for awhile; Bed Bath and Beyond is usually a sure bet.