Friday, August 18, 2017

Shake, shake, shake. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your salt shaker.

This is my go-to salt & pepper shaker set. I like it for a couple of reasons. First off, they were a gift from my late, much beMarie SPloved, and greatly missed friend Marie. So, when I use them – and they are my go-to, so if I’m salting and/or peppering, I’m mostly using them  – I think of Marie. Second, they’re amusing (to me anyway). They just make me smile.

Once or twice a year, when I’m feeling a bit fancier, I use this set. These I inherited from my mother, who used them for holiday dinners. She had two sets – holiday dinners meant a long table with a lot of Crystal SPpeople sitting at it – and one of my sisters has the other pair. I like them because they remind me of family, and family history.

I have a bunch of other salt and pepper shakers, some gifts, some that I bought, and some that, like the crystal set, are part of my inheritance.

My mother quasi-collected sale and pepper shakers, something I think my father got her going on, but which she kept up so that her kids always had something they could get her for her birthday or Christmas. Woolworth’s sold S&P shakers for 49 cents.. I remember getting her a pair of cute little pink pigs, and another set of smiling Dutch SPturnips. I have the pigs around here somewhere. I also have one of the pairs I believe my father got for her. They’ve been smashed and glued back together, and have missing pieces. They sit on my kitchen counter, and I like them because they remind me of my parents, because they’re sort of pretty, and because the blue in the Dutch maid’s skirt and the Dutch boy’s shirt matches the accent color in my kitchen.

I also have a pepper grinder, which is as high tech as I want to get when it comes to dispensing pepper, or salt for that matter. I mean, the basic design of a salt and pepper shaker is pretty simple. It just works. Sure, the salt can clump together if it gets some moisture in it. And the corks that hold the S&P can fall out, fall in, or just plain get lost. Mostly they work. And if it ain’t broke…

Nonetheless, Herb & Body “a California-based lifestyle company” feels that things could be improved on. So they have developed Smalt:


Isn’t dining already a multi-sensory experience? Even if you’re eating by yourself, there’s taste, touch, smell, look. And if I’m eating with others, that means friends or family, and adding talk to the multi-sensory experience is plenty enough fun. Do we really need a device that’s more complex that the knife, fork, spoon, and salt shaker combined? I mean, the more stuff a device can do, the more things there are that can go wrong. With the exception of the Swiss Army knife, multi-function usually translates into multi-problem.

But Herby & Boy thinks the time is right:

Our aim is to develop smart home devices that aspire to make ordinary life more fun, easier, and healthier.  Connected kitchen is the next wave of smart home tools and our company’s ambition is to be at the forefront.  We will be bringing tools to the market that will be interactive and fun while enriching peoples’ lives.   Our first innovation, “SMALT”, is the first of it’s kind to market and will transform an ordinary kitchen tools that people have been using for centuries into a fun experience. (Source: MySmalt)

Maybe it’s just me – old fogey, quasi-Luddite (especially when you consider that my career has been in technology) – but I really don’t see how making something as brilliantly simple as a salt shaker more smaltcomplex makes “ordinary life” easier. (It goes without saying that having this device on my dining room table won’t be making my life more fun or healthier.)

And, God knows, I really don’t care to have a connected kitchen. My life gets enriched by friends and family, by experiences, by looking at my salt and pepper shakers that remind me of friends, family, and experience.

Features mood-lighting to set the ambiance (sic!) and a Bluetooth speaker to play music!

I don’t have much call for mood-lighting, but isn’t that what candles are for? And is there anyone who doesn’t already have a couple of ways to play music, without involving their salt dispenser? Do we need a smart-aleck salt shaker playing tunes?

Maybe this is just a way for Herb & Body to get attention. (Mission accomplished!)

But I have to say it bothers me when people with fine minds and good technical skills devote those minds and skills to things like the Smalt.

Go head, please. By all means, make our lives smarter and easier. But aren’t there any more useful places you could be focusing your efforts on?


Saw this on my friend John Whiteside’s FB page. Thanks, John.

No comments: