Pass the Salt (and Pepper)
Her shaker collection brings new meaning to “regional seasonings.”
Molly Cassidy comes from a long line of what she refers to as “collectors, junkers and thrifters,” inheriting the collecting gene from her parents and grandparents.
Among other things, the North Carolina public health nurse gathers sea glass and vintage barware, but an assortment of salt and pepper shakers is Molly’s largest collection by far. It began when she left for college in Arizona, with a gift from her dad—a vintage set adorned with some of the major landmarks of her new home state. The following summer, she found two more sets at a yard sale. One was from Texas, the other from Nevada.
“At that point,” Molly says, “I had three sets. So I thought, it’s official. This is a collection.”
There’s one major rule—each pair must be inscribed with the name of a specific place—so while antique shops teem with salt and pepper shakers, the ones that fit Molly’s criteria are a little harder to come by. But, she says, “a big part of collecting is the hunt.”
The most unusual sets are among her favorites, including one with a curious characterization of Florida: a tiny toaster with two removable slices of toast, one holding salt and the other pepper.
“For some reason, Florida is being represented with toast and toasters,” she says. “It makes no sense.”
Now with about 75 sets, Molly’s collection has a few duplicate states but no duplicate styles. Not every state is accounted for yet, but she’s working on it.