What is a GrandMillennial? The History of a Salt Cellar

I spent my Saturday organizing – one of my favorite hobbies and also, for me, a terrific way to relieve stress. I am three weeks away from finishing graduate school and to say I am a little stressed might be an understatement. I took a break from reading and dove into organizing my party closet.  I am so glad I did because I sorted and organized my serving pieces and glassware finding things I forgot I had.  I thought it might be a fun way to share with you the entertaining pieces handed down to me by my mother.

Photo credit One Kings Lane

But, first, are you familiar with the term GrandMillennial? Journalist Emma Bazilian with House Beautiful magazine wrote a wildly popular article on how young women in their mid-20s to late 30s are embracing monogrammed linens and scalloped lampshades, skirted tables, Mosser jadeite, and artful hand soaps a traditional style with a nod to their grandmothers. Hence, the term Grandmillennial was born – a fresh take on what they’ve known all their lives. Even though I am well outside the age range for a Grandmillennial I have embraced everything my mother taught me with my own modern style – including decorating. So does this make me a GreatGrand Millennial?

It’s so fun to follow Grandmillennials on Instagram hunting for and selling vintage finds I already have in my party pantry. It’s inspired me to get out those things and use them. When I found my collection of salt cellars I thought it might be fun to share the vintage pieces in my collection and consider new ways to use them for today’s modern living. Cooks use large salt cellars in the kitchen to easily add a pinch of salt and other seasonings. For this post, I am referring to small individual cellars designed for a guest’s table setting.

A salt cellar typically holds salt, but I have also filled them with ground pepper.  Salt cellars can be either lidded or open and are found in a wide range of sizes, from large shared vessels to small individual dishes. Styles range from simple to ornate or whimsical, using materials including glass and ceramic, metals, ivory and wood, and plastic. My cellars are designed for individual servings about the size of a large ice cube.

The use of salt cellars is documented as early as classical Rome. They continued to be used through the first half of the 20th century; however, popularity declined with the introduction of free-flowing salt in 1911, and ultimately disappeared entirely when replaced by salt shakers.

When mother hosted a formal gathering I loved helping her fill the tiny cellars while she taught me how to properly set the table. Typically, the cellars come with tiny silver spoons for guests to use for seasoning their food. For modern use, I think larger cellars would be fun filled with red pepper flakes and olive oil for dipping bread. Or how about sprinkles for ice cream! Depending on the size wouldn’t they be sweet as holders for earrings or rings on a pretty mirrored tray on your vanity?

If you want to have a set to try this set from Amazon is adorable and comes with tiny spoons.

I’ll be back soon with more inspiration.

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