RE: Monkey Dishes
I totally think it can be done. Those dishes nest really well, and when they are stacked tall they rest on one another's rims and it's harder for them to fall.
This is one of those things (like the phrase "the whole nine yards") that has a hundred great and plausible stories, and somebody just needs to do the research to find the earliest use of the term. Even then it might not provide a definitive answer. But I, too, have always wondered about the derivation.