Monday, October 22, 2007

Salt Pig Love

Simply put, I love my salt pig. I bought it many years ago from a cooking catalog, which probably no longer exists. At the time, I wasn't even sure I would like it, and I'd never seen one in person, but the concept seemed like a good one. Up until that point, I kept my salt in a small ramekin on my counter top. It was perfectly serviceable, however, I often wondered if I was seasoning my food with a mixture of salt and dust. When I saw this "hooded" dish, it struck my fancy and I ordered it. It turned out to be one of my favorite accessories.

When teaching cooking classes in my home kitchen, my bright red salt pig draws quite a bit of attention. Many students have never seen one, and its name always elicits a laugh. In a nutshell, the salt pig is basically a ceramic salt cellar that is kept on the counter top. It's open-mouthed (or open-"snout") design gives cooks easy access to salt, the king of seasonings. You may be wondering why I just don't keep a salt shaker handy. The answer is simple: when "shaking" salt into a dish, it is very easy to misjudge the amount you are adding. Instead, if you scoop some salt into your hand and add it with your fingers, or better yet, use a measuring spoon, you'll have a much better sense of how much you're using. The salt pig is just a great way to store your salt (I prefer Kosher Coarse Salt or Coarse Sea Salt), and looks great on the counter next to your stove.

Salt pigs come in all sizes, but I prefer mine on the smaller side. It simply takes up less space on my counter, and I don't know of too many occasions where I'll need easy access to a pound of salt! Most come with a small ceramic or wooden spoon with which to scoop the salt, but other, wider mouth varieties are usually designed for a cook's fingers and come without a spoon. They all have the opening on the side, rather than the top, to prevent things from dropping into the salt, and many have a small knob on top to be used for moving it around the kitchen.

Salt pigs vary considerably in price too; designer salt pigs can run as high as $60, but most are under $30. Because I get so many questions about my salt pig during classes, I just started carrying stoneware salt pigs in my new web store. They hold 6 ounces of your favorite salt, and come in oatmeal or navy blue ( pictured above). They even have a cute pair of little piggie ears and a curly tail to boot!

While I am not much of a "gadget girl" in the kitchen, I don't know what I'd do without my beloved salt pig! Bring a pig into your kitchen'll be happy you did.


mom said...

I looove the salt pig. Love it. Love salt, love pigs. I'm going to have to get one!

Caroline said...

SO cute! I love this salt pig. Thanks for sharing.

maggie said...

My mother bought me a salt pig years ago, and I couldn't live without it. Mine's a little British one with a British flag near its tail. Very cute, indeed.