Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Family Memories Through Salt & Pepper Shakers

This past Mother's Day I wrote a post that reminisced about my mom's culinary preparations over the years my sisters and I were growing up.

I talked about the casseroles and meals she would make and how she would do the best she could with the food budget she had to do it with.

Judging from the Facebook comments I received, that post brought back memories not only for me and my sisters but some cousins and long time family friends as well.

One day last month I was browsing through a local indoor flea market and I saw a pair of salt & pepper shakers that I remember being on our dining room table years ago. They really brought back strong palpable memories of my mom. I bought them and will display them in my house as a tribute to her.

Finding those salt & pepper shakers got me thinking about the different sets that were on our dining room tables over the years. Above are pictures of some of those I remember. Here's a brief explanation of the memories each of them bring back.

Picture 1: These are the first salt & pepper shakers I remember. They were on our family table during my early years in school. They were there the first day I went to kindergarten as well as the day I came home from school and met my new baby sister. They were from Tupperware the supplier of most the S&P shakers we used over the years. Although I'm sure they came originally came with the white stand I don't ever remember seeing them stored that way.

These plain simple plastic containers were a part of our kitchen & dining room until they met with the fate of melting up against the side of a hot frying pan; rendering them useless and sending them to the trash can.

Picture 2: This is the set that I found at the flea market and are now setting on a shelf in my home. They reminding me of my mom every time I see them. Though considered a bit gaudy now, back in the early 70's when we first moved onto Brainard Street they were considered " modern" and decorative."

Picture 3: The "classic" tall white Tupperware S&P shakers that are most prominent in my memory. I think its because they were the set that lasted the longest in our house. For years they set on our table but when they were replaced they were moved to the kitchen stove for a second stint of seasoning service.

Picture 4: In the late 80's when the entire line of Tupperware underwent a major change to a more "modern" design these were their signature salt & pepper shakers. They replaced the tall white set on our table.

There you have four examples of an ever changing element of the Havens family meal times. But my mom didn't just consider salt & pepper shakers just containers for seasonings. She liked to collect them and display them in her ever present "china closet."

I remember sets that looked liked cat, dogs, roosters, birds and more. But for me the most memorable salt & pepper shaker set mom owned was a novelty set. By being part of her collection it showed everyone that mom had a terrific sense of humor.

I've never forgotten these salt & pepper shakers. Over the years I've told people about them but they never quite seemed to believe that they ever really existed. I began to wonder myself until recently I found a set of them on Ebay.

The set is an elderly couple standing next to each other. The old woman is looking angrily to her left at the old man, her husband, the pepper shaker. She is obviously with child and written on her growing "bundle of joy" is a comment directed toward the man. It's more than a comment; its a punchline..."You and your once more for old times sake."  I LOVE these salt & pepper shakers. They have made me smile every time I've thought of them since I was a kid. Judge for yourself. They're pictured below. 

 So there you have a thumbnail sketch of the history of salt & pepper shakers in our family home over the years. It may seem a bit obscure to some of you; but, let me tell you. Seeing them again as I searched for pictures of a couple of them for this post brought back such a plethora of family memories. I consider those recollections, seasoned treasures permanently stored in those sets of salt & pepper shakers.

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