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Salt Pig -- what's the point?

Saw a lovely salt pig at the store yesterday. While that one was $$ since it was from a french company, there are a bunch online in the $10-$15 range. Right now we just keep our kosher salt in a bowl on the counter for ease in cooking. What would be the advantage of the pig?

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  1. maybe these were developed during a time of heating with coal, lots of soot flying around, and the domed top kept out debris?

    dunno. I use a small dish, stoveside. Pepper too.

    1. I have one from Emile Henry, and it's very useful but, to be honest, largely aesthetic. One thing that I do believe to be true is that the unglazed interior absorbs any moisture in the salt keeping it fresh and dry.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Sam Harmon

        That may be true...but I just use a ceramic ramekin to hold my salt, glazed outside, unglazed unside. I've never had a problem with my salt clumping due to moisture, and I live in eastern Maryland, which gets it's fair share of humidity in the summer. I've never thought about it, but maybe it is the unglazed ceramic that does it. And here I was just using it because it was a good size and pretty color.

      2. OK, looking around there seem to be a few reasons people use salt pigs.

        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.

        This seems to be the classic design and would accomplish all of the above, I guess
        http://www.buffalorising.com/yum/arch...

        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.

        Nigell'a design seems like it only marginally would keep the dust out. She seems to favor functionality (#2) and design (#4) ... and making a trough of money selling them.
        http://www.nigella.com/living_kitchen...

        These designs don't seem to keep the dust from drifting in either.
        http://www.cooking.com/images/product...
        The James Herriot salt pig, how cute is that idea
        http://www.bakersandlarners.com/catal...

        If it is for humidity control, then there doesn't seem to be a point to a glass version
        http://www.theglassblower.co.nz/image...

        For my own tastes, I thought these were the prettiest I saw.
        http://www.glenclyde.com/images/Salt_...
        http://www.fire-works.co.za/lavender/...

        ... and ok ... the most frequent comment ... check with your rabbi to see if it is kosher to put kosher salt in a pig ... sigh ... internet humor.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rworange

          Forget the problem of stuff getting into the salt. After filling miy pig with either Diamond or Morton Kosher salt, I have to spend time picking out the tiny pieces of cardboard from the box.

          1. re: Leper

            Kosher to keep salt in a pig? Ha ha ha (laughing at myself not you)

          2. I use one of these next to the stovetop: http://www.quiltingdelights.com/cgi-b...

            Covered, large volume, never had a problem with caking...Not sure why they're sold at a quilting store, but I found mine at Sur la Table in the sale section several years ago...