shaking salt vs. pepper - the hole story?

At first I was going to put this in GQ, but after doing a short search and finding this ( says “it depends”) and this (SDMB, GQ forum, posters say “it depends”) I thought I would ask in this forum.

The Winkelried family has just bought new dishes and my lovely wife has found the cutest salt/pepper shakes to match, so of course she went back to the store behind my back to get them. My opinion on salt and pepper shakers is that they have to be either black and white (black for pepper, white for salt) or else have a large P and S painted on them. Any other way lies madness. I told her she has 3 choices: get her money back at the store, give them away, or paint an S and P on the back of each. My wife said - well you can tell by the number of holes! Ha.

(Disclaimer for the spice connoisseur: personally, when I think people are going to want pepper, I bring out the pepper mill). Nevertheless I want to settle this matter once and for all.

One shaker has 2 holes, the other shaker has 3 holes. The holes in each shaker have the same diameter. So, vote!

Option A:
salt = shaker with less holes
pepper = shaker with more holes

Option B:
salt = shaker with more holes
pepper = shaker with less holes

I vote Option A. Pepper grounds are bigger (at least mine are). You definitely don’t want to oversalt.

Option A
salt with less holes, pepper with more holes
Mostly I want more pepper–so there should be more holes to get it out. Salt I enjoy, but if there is too many holes it comes out too fast. In fact most salt shakers seem to only have one hole if I recall correctly

Option A. Too much salt too quickly is bad. Salt is heavier and more uniform than pepper, therefore it must be more controlled upon delivery.

(Additional disclaimer: Around our house, pepper comes from a mill, and salt comes from an Alton Brown salt cellar. :stuck_out_tongue: )

By the way, I am willing to accept an historical precedent, so if someone digs up a 1000B.C. depiction of an Egyption pharaoh / Sumerian king / Chinese emperor using clearly labelled salt and pepper shakers, with one shaker having more holes than the other, I will consider that as the definitive answer.

Well, this contradicts my opinion, but here’s a “cite” from Crate & Barrel:

I’m going with Option A too. Salt flows more easily but you have to work harder to get the pepper out. (Sometimes a lot harder. Grrr!)

C3, we were doing so well until you came along with your C&B picture, with 100% consensus and all. :mad:

Traditionally, assuming regular salt and regular ground pepper, the salt goes in the shaker with more holes. This is what most people (OK, me) will assume, regardless of your individual predilection for more pepper, say, that might incline you to switching.

I believe it’s traditional for the salt shaker to have more holes.

twicks, who’s a girl, and thus knows this shit.

At my house growing up, salt 3 holes, pepper 2. I think most people normally use more salt. Here’s a link which doesn’t settle anything.

We have a similar set, and the way I tell the difference is that the salt shaker is the one with little white flecks atop it and the pepper is the one with little black flecks. Damned if I can remember which number of holes is which.

I don’t give a carp about tradition, etc. I would use them in the configuration that works best depending on your preference and the size of the holes.

In my kitchen, I’m not a huge fan of salt and my shakers have largish holes, so the salt goes in the one with one hole and the pepper in the one with two. Even if I forgot that, pepper powder has darkened the holes of the pepper shaker (they’re ceramic) so it is easy to see which is which.

The salt goes in the shaker with the most holes. I thought everybody knew that until I read this thread.

Me too. But now my world is turned upside down by the expert reasoning as to why you’d want it the other way (salt with less holes.)

My dad, who’s over 50, was having this very discussion with my mom the other day. He could not figure out which was which shaker. He came into the living room and asked my opinion. I said “the pepper is always the one with the fewer holes” which confirmed what my mom told him. He said he’d never heard of that and there must be a conspiracy between me and my mom.

Although he did not weigh in on his opinion on which was the better method - he just wanted to know which was which.

Twicks is correct.

My salt ‘n’ pepper shakers were designed for cooking. The Salt has a 1.5" S on it, and the S is outlined all the way around. Same with the “P.” There are probably 30 holes on each one. They’re the best

I was also of the mindset that the salt goes in the one with more holes, and that this was universal.

Put salt in both, and use a pepper grinder for your pepper.

Most pepper shakers add little flavor, since the pepper dries out and loses its flavor. Fresh ground is the way to go.

Salt flows more freely and therefore doesn’t need as many holes. I don’t care what C&B does; their patrons must have a lot of BP problems :stuck_out_tongue: No, but seriously why would you need more holes for salt since the crystals are tiny and flow freely where pepper grains are all different sizes and float rather than shake out. Think on it. You may like more salt and therefore think you’d put the salt in the shaker with more holes but then you penalize the pepper fans who have to shake furiously to get pepper out of the fewer-holed shaker. And that’s just mean.

This has been enlightening. I would have said definitely Option A. In the salt and pepper shakers I’ve seen, the salt shaker had one hole and the pepper several smaller holes.