when cosmo was an infant, our dear friend michael went to hawaii (where he was born), and brought home, as a gift, some red salt from the islands. for years it has sat on our spice shelf, unused, it its bag. i've often thought we needed one of those egg-shaped salt dishes, so we could set it out, and reach for it more easily. last week i went searching for one online, and found this from a potter on etsy. i saw a few mass produced ones that i liked, but decided this would be a great object to look for on etsy since i could probably find a beautiful, handmade one, at an affordable price. i was right. this one is the closest, in shape, to what i would make if i were a potter. i love it.
i love the whole idea of the salt pig. i guess it is so-called because of the snout-like opening (more obvious in some other designs)*. you can rest a small spoon in there, but i chose this one, in part, because the opening was big enough for my hand to reach in.
in my online search i found this list of reasons why people might want a salt pig:**
1. Ceramic interior keeps salt from clumping in steamy kitchens or humid climates
2. The large opening is an easy way to access salt while cooking ... either use a spoon or reach in and grab a pinch.
3. Keeps dust or other stuff from falling onto the salt. The side opening keeps debris from settling on an open bowl.
4. People think they are cute.
the nice thing about etsy, is the personal touch of direct contact with the artist, who included a complementary, tiny vase with my order. this is my first etsy purchase. i'm sure it won't be my last. one of these days, i'll open my own etsy shop, but that's another story altogether.
* just found this comment on chowhound: Most people seem to say that the opening resembles the snout of a pig & that's where the name came from. However an old Scottish definition of "pig" is a jar or pot made of earthenware.
** found this at chowhound.chow.com