I have nightstand on which I often put down my cup of milchig coffee. One day I brought home fleishig takeout food and placed it on that nightstand as I took care of a few things. The food was in a plastic container, which was in a plastic bag. Is the food permitted to eat? Did I make that nightstand fleishig?
And in general what would be considered a “placemat” if I wanted to put down a cup or plate of hot food? Would a paper towel or napkin sufffice?
Since the food was inside a container and no liquid went from the food to the nightstand, the night stand is not fleishig. The bag in this case would serve as your placemat.
In general a paper towel or napkin would be sufficient, however not if the napkin is opened up all the way and you are left with only a very thin layer, that wouldn’t stop anything from going through it.