Salt and pepper shakers
Salt and pepper shakers (or in the UK, salt and pepper pots) are condiment dispensers used in Western culture that are designed to allow diners to distribute grains of edible salt and ground peppercorns. Salt and pepper shakers are sometimes held in a cruet-stand.
History and usage
Salt and pepper shakers can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, glass, metal, and ceramic. Salt shakers became increasingly common after anti-caking agents were introduced by the Morton Salt company in the 1920s. The Great Depression of the 1930s boosted the popularity of salt and pepper shakers as global ceramics producers concentrated on inexpensive items.
Except in the most casual dining establishments, they are usually provided as a matched set, sometimes distinguishable only by the number of holes on the top of the shaker. Designs range from small, plain glass screw cap containers (invented by John Landis Mason, inventor of the Mason jar) to more ornate works of art. Sometimes the design refers to some pair of related objects—such as a replica of a West Highland White Terrier containing salt and a Scottish Terrier containing pepper. Designs may also relate to specific occasions or holidays. As a result of this diversity of design, collecting salt and pepper shakers is a hobby. Design of salt and pepper shakers has also been used to transmit cultural perspectives about race and other cultural values.
Which Shaker Is for Salt? And Which for Pepper?
It is important that salt and pepper be in the correct shaker, especially if they are not glass, so guests will not accidentally put salt on their food when they want pepper, or vice versa. Unfortunately various arguments exist for doing it one way or the other, and there is no clear consensus on which should go in the shaker with more holes. The number of holes varies by culture, health and taste.
- Longenecker, E.Z. (1970) "Using the Slush Casting Method to Make Salt and Pepper Shakers." School Shop. 29(6) p. 56.
- Derek Workman (23 January 2012). "Would You Like Some Salt and Pepper? How About 80,000 Shakers' Worth?". Smithsonian magazine. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- The Complete Salt and Pepper Shaker Book, Mike Schneider, Schiffer Publishing (1993), ISBN 0-88740-494-4, ISBN 978-0-88740-494-8
- Florence's Big Book of Salt & Pepper Shakers: Identification & Value Guide, Gene Florence, Collector Books (2002), ISBN 1-57432-257-5, ISBN 978-1-57432-257-6
- Collecting Salt & Pepper Shaker Series, Irene Thornburg, Schiffer Publishing (1998), ISBN 0-7643-0493-3, ISBN 978-0-7643-0493-4
- Salt & Pepper Shakers IV: Identification & Values, Helene Guarnaccia, Collector Books (1993), ISBN 0-89145-547-7, ISBN 978-0-89145-547-9
- 1002 Salt and Peppers Shakers: With Prices, Larry Carey and Sylvia Tompkins, Schiffer Publishing (1995), ISBN 0-88740-789-7, ISBN 978-0-88740-789-5
- Collector's Encyclopedia of Salt and Pepper Shakers: Second Series (Figural and Novelty 2nd Series), Melva Davern, Collector Books (1990), ISBN 0-89145-407-1, ISBN 978-0-89145-407-6
- Holt, T. (1995) "Marking: Race, Race-making, and the Writing of History," American Historical Review. 100(1) p. 8.
- Dubin, S. (1987) "Symbolic Slavery: Black Representations in Popular Culture," Social Problems. 34(2) p 126.
- Hoffman, D.G. (1950) "Folk Tales of Paul Bunyan: Themes, Structure, Style, Sources," Western Folklore. 9(4) p. 316.