One of my favorite things about cooking is when you get to add spices. When you add spices to something you are cooking you are adding flavor but you are also adding your signature. Adding spices to a dish is a cooks way of making it their own. You've heard people who have a recipe say "and of course my secret ingredient" which usually is a spice.

So what about salt and pepper? we add it to just about everything, salt especially. Can they be considered a chef's signature? My answer is yes, but they can also be the way someone enjoying a meal adds their own flavor to the dish. You want to insult a cook? Add salt or pepper without tasting it first.

Salt and pepper have been part of our meals for centuries. According to The History Vault salt has been around since 450 B.C. and was first used in china. No surprise there if you have ever tried to take off your jewelry after eating Chinese takeout. Pepper according to the History Vault is about 4000 years old and the common form, black pepper originated in Kerala, India.

Now that we have the history of salt and pepper, what about the shakers? Well from what I found online they made an appearance once an anti caking agent was added to salt by the Morton's Salt company in 1920. Pepper shakers soon followed according to wikipedia.  According to wikipedia their popularity grew during the depression when ceramics companies started focusing on making more affordable items.

Some other fun things to note about salt and pepper shakers are that in humid climates people still put rice in with the salt shaker to absorb moisture. Salt and pepper shakers have a different number of hole on the top but depending on where you are in the world salt may have more holes than pepper. Typically in the United States we have more holes in the pepper shaker than the salt but in Europe it is opposite.

Chances are you haven't bought yourself a salt and pepper set recently that wasn't designed to be tossed when the salt or pepper runs out. I even trend to buy the McCormick's grinders. But if your thinking you need a pair check out our photo gallery of shakers and see if you recognize any from your grandma's house that she might let you keep.