Saturday, May 22, 2010

Discuss, please

This question has been vexing me for years.

Are salt and pepper shakers obsolete?

Here's why I need to know.

I bought these pretty shakers at an antique show years ago—I think in Baltimore, where I visited often with my graduate school roommate when I was at Penn State. They were a little battered, but I considered that part of their charm. What I appreciated most was the intricate glass pattern, which is of course none the worse for the wear.

The tops, however, are another story. The years have taken their toll, and the silver plate has completely worn off in spots.

So the decision I need to make is whether to have them replated. But does this make any sense? I have put them on the table maybe once or twice in the past ten years, probably at a holiday meal. I don't think anyone used them. And I can count on one finger when someone at my table requested salt. I fear salt and pepper shakers are a thing of the past. My mother served food mostly unsalted; shakers were always on the table. I serve food already salted, making an executive decision concerning seasoning. And, of course, I try to season as much as I can with substances other than salt (citrus is my favorite flavor kicker).

So that is why I ask . . .

Are salt and pepper shakers obsolete?

If I don't have them replated, what do I do with them? Cinnamon? Nutmeg?

Thanks for your help here.

14 comments:

Sarah said...

I don't have a salt and pepper shaker. I have a pepper grinder and I have a salt bowl. No one ever asks for the salt and pepper. I only use them while cooking.
Yours are really pretty thought. If you didn't want to use them for salt and pepper anymore you could use them as small vases, for powdered sugar and cocoa, nutmeg and cinnamon.

adozeneggs said...

We don't use salt and pepper shakers either. I have a pepper mill and a salt bowl as well. (and I rarely put them on the table).
I agree with Sarah that you should use them for powdered sugar, cocoa, or cinnamon. I bet you'll sprinkle sugar on more things. When I was a pastry assistant we dusted just about every dessert with powdered sugar.

Preppy Mama said...

We hardly ever use ours, but I love collecting old ones like yours. I think the beauty is in the age and wear of them. I would keep them as they are and you could use them for your cinnamon and nutmeg or maybe something special like vanilla sugar. I keep it on hand for when I have my girlfriends over for coffee.

Kate said...

I love salt & pepper shakers & have several antique sets. BUT we rarely USE them! I usually just put them out at Thanksgiving & Christmas dinners for sentimental reasons. I love the idea of using them for other condiments. I really need a smoked paprika shaker - I've been putting it on everything lately!

Sis. Boom. said...

You probably already know what I will say. Plate them. Use them. Enjoy them. I like to think that I am not the owner but the custodian of nice things. I think of the S and P as jewelry for the table. You don't need it...but they do look nice and contribute to the 'mood'. Not everything has to be 'useful'. They are just one part of the art.

Jackie said...

I definitely still use salt and pepper shakers. Yours are so cute you should keep them on the table all the time.

carolyn said...

with those beautiful stars they are definitely worth re-plating. We use our set often, mostly for eggs. But cinnamon sugar is a good idea.

tandbj3 said...

I use old ones for projects involving glitter, but I like the powdered sugar and cinnamon ideas too!

five tomatoes said...

Those are so cute! Definitely use them for something...cinnamon? Powdered sugar? Other spices?

We have a combination salt shaker/pepper grinder that sits near our stove, then a few other novelty ones I rarely use.

tommie said...

We rarely use ours as I season during the cooking process...but I do have a fun one filled with powdered sugar for french toast (which I make more all too often).

Now that you say it, I have one of a pair that I can fill with cinnamon (the other was broken in a move). I have hung on to it since it matches our crystal.

gandr said...

Oh yeah. Definitely plate them. They will look so nice on your table!

gandr said...

Oh yeah. Definitely plate them. They will look so nice on your table!

gandr said...

Oh yeah. Definitely plate them. They will look so nice on your table!

KatieGirlBlue said...

WE ARE!


PENN STATE!!!!


(Sorry, I couldn't help myself. It's Pavlovian, I tell you.)

I know people are very fancy with the s & p these days...sea salt and all the rest...but I love the classic Americana feeling I get from those antique gems. They have a charming diner-y quality to them...