Worth its Salt by
(194 Stories)

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A couple of my kitchen items are older than I. In a cabinet is a box of silver plate, with place settings for 12, an extra set that my paternal grandmother Leah owned. Everything needs replating, and the utensils constantly must be polished. I don’t use them any more, and no one else wants the set. A few years back I gave away the old Sunbeam Mix Master that my mother got as a wedding gift. As a child, I enjoyed the whirring sound while dialing up the speed to beat egg whites. The motor still worked, although the bowls and beaters had to be replaced, but this indestructible thing weighed a ton. Since I don’t bake very often, it was time for it to go.

... it is the only thing I have that belonged to grandma Rose.

I moved my mother’s white Russell Wright covered serving bowl from the kitchen to a display shelf where I can appreciate its beauty. It’s a few years older than I. My family used the entire set of dishware throughout my childhood, and the pieces gradually chipped and broke. The serving bowl, and a pitcher that my brother has, are the only survivors. They are beautiful examples of mid-century design. A few years ago I did some research and found they are more valuable than I expected, which surprised my mother when I told her.

By far the oldest and most sentimental piece I have is the cute salt box pictured in the featured image, which also is on my display shelf. My maternal grandmother Rose probably got it in the 1920s, and it was modest even then. While it lacks the aesthetic qualities of the Russell Wright bowl, it is the only thing I have that belonged to grandma Rose. I never asked if she put salt in it, but assume she did. Now the box is full of the pleasant memories I have of my grandmother, which I can enjoy each time I look at it.

Profile photo of Marian Marian
I have recently retired from a marketing and technical writing and editing career and am thoroughly enjoying writing for myself and others.

Characterizations: right on!, well written


  1. Thanx Mare for this tale of your family treasures.

    Your title is wonderful and lovely is the thought of the salt box no longer holding salt, but memories.

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    You have some very nice items listed, Mare. The salt box in the photo is quite lovely and I, too, would look at it and appreciate it every day. Having sliver plate that needed to be polished and replated is a pain. I have my mother’s sterling but I NEVER use it. I rarely entertain and when I do, I just don’t do it that way any longer (don’t use the linen or fine china either). It is interesting for women how much of what we have was handed down from our mothers, but just sits these days. Our lives are so different. Nice that you have pieces that are more decorative and can be appreciated for their beauty.

  3. John Shutkin says:

    A lovely story, beautifully told, Marian, of your family treasures. And, as other writers have noted, the real treasures in their treasures (so to speak) are the memories they evoke, not their monetary value. This is, of course, how it should be.
    And, as Dana noted, a perfect title.

  4. Laurie Levy says:

    My mother had the same mixmaster. I have no idea what happened to it. I love the salt box, not only because it evokes memories of your beloved grandmother but also because it speaks to an era long past.

    • Marian says:

      I had a feeling that Baby Boomer women, at least, would know what that mixmaster was. Well made but not that practical today. The salt box is old enough to bring back bygone days.

  5. Susan Bennet says:

    I love your salt box! I am sure its beauty, and the beauty of your memories of your grandmother, give pleasure to you every day.

    During my multiple house moves it has been a question whether I should discard my mother’s ramshackle Betty Crocker cookbook from the late 1940s,. It is stained with smudges of ingredients, and the pages are loose (especially the one with the pie crust recipe). But of course I could never part with it. Good for you.

    • Marian says:

      I understand not parting with that wonderful cookbook, Susan. It’s so nostalgic in the best way. I’ve had many house moves but always made sure that salt box was moved by me, personally, and not put in a packing box.

  6. EVen as a boy boomer, I am pretty sure I can identify that Mixmaster that my mother used! But what would go back even further–don’t know if anyone ended up with it–is that giant full-handled chopping knife that she used for the chopped liver.
    This was a nice narrative, very evocative, and great that you were able to provide such a nice photo of the piece de resistance.

    • Marian says:

      Thanks, Dale. I don’t recall such a knife, but my mother did make chopped liver. If I remember correctly, she used a metal meat grinder that bolted to a counter or table and was turned with a crank. I’d forgotten all about that!

  7. Khati Hendry says:

    The salt box is adorable–I’d hang onto it as well. I certainly remember the Mix Master, the prequel to the Cuisinart. Mostly I remember licking the beaters of the dough or frosting.

    • Marian says:

      I remember licking the dough and frosting as well, Khati. What a treat. I don’t think they recommend licking beaters today, and you can’t with a Cuisinart. The kids are missing something.

  8. Suzy says:

    I love the salt box, as well as the Russell Wright serving bowl (although not pictured), that remind you of the past. I would be tempted to put salt in the salt box and use it on the table, but then, my family uses a lot of salt. I agree that silver or silver plate that needs to be polished all the time is a nuisance, and that’s why I am so fond of my Reed & Barton stainless pattern that I picked for my (first ) wedding.

    • Marian says:

      I considered adding a photo of the Russell Wright bowl, Suzy, but its color and dimensions made it really hard to photograph. It’s best admired in person. We use a simple stainless set that Dick had, and I really like it.

  9. Too bad about the Sunbeam Mixmaster. Perhaps it could have been re-purposed as a planter, or as a centerpiece? I suspect the time is passed on the silver plate. May the salt box stay with you forever.

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