12 March 2009

salt pig

if you'd asked me a couple of weeks ago, i wouldn't have known what a salt pig is. now, i have one nestled next to the stove in our kitchen. i've been wanting one of these for years, but never knew what they were called. i've seen one at a friends house shaped like an egg. its basically a way to keep coarse salt out in the kitchen, where you can just grab a pinch while you're cooking.

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


Anonymous said...

I really love ordering from Etsy! I've bought soaps (bath and body products), beads, and fabrics there.

Your salt-pig is very nice! I may have to make dh one if he doesn't mind that container is open (the ladybugs are a pain in the butt at our house, crawling into every orifice they can get to).

ms. mep said...

I've never seen a salt pig before. Very cool. I have to say that I'm also tickled that you have in two different kinds of basil labeled in your pantry. Do you ever get crazy and mix your basil with the other?

I've only placed one order from etsy, but it was a great experience--a sweet note from the artist and a free gift. Plus, she decorated the mailing envelope, which was a nice touch.

I'll be waiting for the grand opening of your etsy shop.

cake said...

teresa, when i asked you about the pottery class, the reason i wanted to take a class was to make a salt pig. before i knew it was called that.
how funny to be over-run by ladybugs! i mean, they're so cute...

mep, you make me laugh so hard. at myself. i think that's what i always find so appealing about your humor. in my defense, i only have the two basil jars labeled because it is fun to know if you are cooking with basil that you grew in your own garden. that's all. ok?

Alli said...

I love your pig! I will have to check out Etsy...I have taken a short break from it...it is very addictive, so many beautiful things to look at! ;)

Actchy said...

I have a salt pig. It's in the style of Gaudi and I bought it in Barcelona when we stayed there for a summer. It has a lid, and the lid breaks. And then the large square broken part of the lid hangs out in the pig for 3 or 4 months with the salt. And then I glue it back together. And then it breaks. Etc. Etc. The fact that I still use it (and save the broken lid, when really, I should just toss the lid altogether) is evidence of how indespensible the salt pig is to my cooking.

Also, I bought one for my sister for Christmas. It's shaped like a chili pepper, and I think it's actually for holding pot scrubbies, but I told her it was for salt.

Last: my Freshman year dormroom was overrun by lady bugs and it was really, really disgusting. I have never looked at the lady bug in the same way.

Abby said...

i love salt pigs! but we have a salt crock....it has a lid. maybe that would work for you teresa? and btw: my parents have major ladybug issues. they are orange ones, not the cute red ladybugs. what's up with them?

bethany said...

i use a pinch pot personally (actually, i repurposed a *tiny* little japanese saki cup), but maybe thats because i never even heard of - or saw a salt pig in all my born days!! its so wonderful!

i have etsy-shop dreams too, but im waiting till my kids are in school that i can give it a serious go.

btw. did you already get your 5 crafty responders? ive been giving it some thought,, 5 people just seems like a lot for hand made stuffs unless you just happen to have tons of finished projects floating around (which i dont).. ive been toying around with a "first 2 (or 3" responders meme.