Add a Salt Pig to Culinary Workspace

New Craft Gallery Exhibit at LBIF Opens Aug. 1
Jul 25, 2018
Photo by: Victoria Ford

Salt pigs are the subject of a new ceramics exhibit in the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences craft gallery along the front windows, opening Aug. 1. All of LBIF’s recurring ceramicists were invited to participate; about two dozen artists will be represented in the show. All items in the show will be for sale.

The exhibit is the brainchild of Lynne Berman, who learned of salt pigs’ usefulness while traveling abroad.

“In London there were salt pigs everywhere,” she said. Berman thought the concept was a perfect fit for an LBI audience, considering the moisture in the air at the shore.

“Pig” is a Scots word for “vessel,” aproned potter Sue Pohanka offered during a visit to the ceramics studio last week.

Therefore, salt pigs are essentially large salt cellars, made for daily storage of salt in a humid environment. They’re roughly cylindrical or ovoid, with a lipped mouth on one side to keep out debris, and a knob on top. “Miraculously, bugs avoid the salt completely,” according to the online resource Cooks Info.

Salt is pinched with fingertips or scooped out with a tiny spoon or shovel. One could argue measuring salt by the pinch is actually an easier and more conservative method.

The process of building the salt pigs lies at the crossroads of creativity and functionality. The clay is sculpted wet, allowed to dry to leather-hard, trimmed down, bisque fired, glazed, then kiln-fired again.

“I think it’s neat to see everyone’s personal interpretations, the different permeations,” Pohanka said. Berman added she hopes people will discover their usefulness, too.

“It’s an old-world idea in a new world,” Ceramic Studio Manager Jeff Ruemeli said, pointing out the sustainability angle in buying salt in bulk and storing it in the vessel for daily use.

The beauty of salt as a flavoring agent is it has no expiration date and never loses potency or changes taste.  —V.F.

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