Friday 14th November 2014
First off, to add a touch of class to the Christmas Table, how about this lovely boxed set of Silver Salts in the form of lotus flowers, beautifully chased with floral detail and retaining the original gilt interiors, hallmarked JR, Sheffield, 1905
...or this lovely Silver Cruet Set by Walker & Hall, Birmingham 1925
It's really interesting to note that salt has traditionally played an important role in society, often as a form of currency. Indeed, the word "salary" derives from the word "salarium", the allowance given to Roman legionaries for the purchase of salt. The value of salt was reflected in the tableware designed to offer it. This reached its zenith in the Renaissance period with increasingly fantastical creations in gold and silver gilt, - works of art that served to display the wealth and prestige of one's host, such as the Cellini Salt Cellar
[courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art] http://www.wga.hu/html_m/c/cellini/1/index.html
The expression "below the salt" has come down to us as an indication of inferior status, from being seated at a remove from the High Table of a lord or monarch. Moderation of use originated from its high cost, whereas today we are urged to reduce intake for reasons of health, due to a surfeit of manufactured "unhealthy" salt in our diet. Yet it remains the case that a pinch of well sourced salt can transform the taste and savour of a dish, just as a beautiful set of salt cellars can transform the Christmas table...
More ideas to come over the next few weeks...
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