roaming table condiments

anrsazApril 3, 2008

Where do you keep your napkins/salt & pepper shakers for your table at eating time? I switch ours to the kitchen counter when not in use and but I really don't have anywhere else to put them and they are always, always in the way. I'd leave them on the table, but we're a family of 3 and eat at the counter and hardly ever at the table, so we're constantly moving them around. I swear I handle these things 4 times a day. It's starting to drive me batty. Where are yours?

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talley_sue_nyc

I keep them on the buffet, and move them to the table and back.

I have a ceramic tray that they sit on there, so their space is always secure, and people tend to put them back in the same place.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 5:14PM
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talley_sue_nyc

I define this as part of "setting the table" (my mom had a mantra that she would chant at whoever was setting the table: "bread and butter, salt and pepper, napkins") and "clearing off the table."

So it doesn't seem that onerous to me.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 5:16PM
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lucy

You say you have nowhere to keep them, but what about a little 'garage' (like the ones for can openers, blenders, etc. on your kitchen counter) on your hutch - something nice looking that goes with the rest of the room (if only at least painted to fade against the wall)?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 6:17PM
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lionors

I keep napkins in the drawer with the silverware, so it is easy to include them when setting the table.

My dad and his whole family deals with high blood pressure, so I don't put salt out with meals. I do use it for cooking, so it's kept on the stove top. It's in a pretty, bird-shaped shaker, so it looks nice there.

Not setting out the salt and pepper is only a problem when we have guests. It used to drive my mother crazy, and my poor brother had to ask for it every meal. But how often do you get to give your brother the bird and not get in trouble for it?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 8:02PM
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anrsaz

lionors you are too funny!!!!!!

Anyway, I wish I did have an appliance garage. I'm having issues w/my counter space.....actually lack of it.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 8:51PM
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jannie

I keep salt, pepper and napkins on my kitchenette table. But every morning my 19 year old daughter makes eggs for her breakfast, and the S and P travel to the stove. I move them back sometime before dinner.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 9:29PM
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marie26

I keep salt, ketchup, straws and napkins on the buffet by the table. We don't use pepper. I also keep another salt shaker by the stove.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 1:15AM
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mustangs81

I have the identical problem. To add to that, I recently added regular S&P shakers to the mix because DH doesn't like the inconvenience of using S&P grinders. So regular shakers for him and grinders for me.

I guess I will just have to deal with the "roaming" table condiments.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 9:48AM
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talley_sue_nyc

The way I eliminate the "roaming" is to install a separate set at each place.

So, one at the stove. (to solve this: every morning my 19 year old daughter makes eggs for her breakfast, and the S and P travel to the stove.

One near the DR table

One near the kitchen table (if had one).

I stash the napkins and S&P stuff right near the plates, so it's not as though I'm going so terribly out of my way to fetch them from the table.

I use my table for other stuff, so I won't keep them ON the table, though some people successfully do that.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 2:49PM
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jannie

When I was growing up, the only cpondiment on our dinner table was salt. Dad had a stomach ulcer and couldn't take any spice in his food, not even pepper. So Mom filled the salt shaker and hid the pepper in a cabinet. When we had company, the pepper shaker would be put out.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 8:19PM
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Cynic

I've always had multiple salt shakers and now that I found the joy of fresh ground pepper I use FGP, never that powdered ash that is sold. For a while I used a couple different kinds of pepper corns so I used more than one grinder, and I found a couple electric grinders that were neat so I used them till they died, now it's back to the conventional. But I digress.

Anyway, I have a little basket that keeps napkins, table salt, kosher salt, garlic salt and lemon pepper (that's the only ground pepper I'll buy) and I have a "Mason" jar in it to hold a couple forks, knives, spoons and steak knives so they're handy. I have it on the counter which is where I eat most of the time and if I go to the table, I grab the basket. I've thought about hanging it on the wall to save space. It also works great when I'm grilling, and/or eating outside - I grab the basket and out it goes. The reason I put the flatware in there is because the only drawers that are useable for storing flatware is on the opposite side of the counter from where I sit. I got sick of sitting down to a nice hot meal and then realizing I forgot to put out flatware. Works great for me.

The little chant reminded me of when I'd be setting the table as a young 'un too, mine was, and I still think it to this day, "bread, butter, salt, pepper, meat, potatoes, coffee milk...." and since being on my own started adding a second verse, "veggie, dessert, BEER, gravy/sauce, -n- anything special?" Oh, and BTW, NOW it's BUTTER and NOT margarine either! My folks were farmers, but pa was a tightwad. 29/# margarine was what he'd buy. When he was put on a cholesterol diet he wouldn't even splurge for corn oil margarine (after all, it was 20¢/# more!) and would argue with ma it's VEGETABLE oil!!! Corn is a VEGETABLE!!! LOL Ah the things we remember!

Growing up, the S&P were on the table, on the stove and an extra couple sets for when the fancy eatin' table was being used. Not sure why there was pepper. Ma never used it and therefore we didn't eat it and I'm willing to bet the same pepper was in the shakers when my dad auctioned off his house stuff 5 years ago that was in there when we were growing up. I don't remember ever buying pepper! When I first moved out I never filled the pepper shaker. Then the frugal in me decided why not fill the pepper shaker with salt? I suppose there was the fear that the shaker police would ticket me for having a "P" on the salt shaker? I'd argue better a "P" on than TO "P" on it.... but again, I digress...

I used to keep a salt shaker in the living room next to my recliner but not anymore. And I don't use separate ones anymore, I use the basket stuff for the stove now. I started that when I started to use kosher salt. Figured why bother. Now I bought some sea salt to try too so I'll need another shaker!

My cousin has the greatest organizer. Actually his GF got it at a garage sale. It holds the plates (2 sizes) some bowls and the flatware is made to hang on there, with a spot for spices and another spot for condiments. Not much bigger than a dinner plate since it stores the stuff over each other, several levels. I don't like leaving utensils out for dust & grease but this thing is cool. And if you don't overload it they'll get cleaned often enough.

Sorry for getting so long-winded!!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 7:55PM
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quiltglo

I enjoy reading how we all live so differently. My salt shaker hits the table about once a month, if that often. My mother always salted everything, even before she tasted it. I really don't use all that much salt and keep salt and pepper next to the stove since when I do think things need salt, it's usually during the cooking process.

I have a small rolling cart close to the table where I keep the napkins. I would probably have a second set of anything we needed on that cart rather than moving things.

Gloria

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 1:02AM
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mustangs81

Annellis, Thank you!!

This thread has inspired me to address the "roaming table condiments". I found a distressed plant box (I didn't want something that protruded into the counter top space too much) to corral my counter top clutter that gets daily use.
Right to left I have:
Butter bell
DH's non-mechanical S&P shakers
S&P grinders for the more sophisticated palate LOL
Stacking EVOO and vinegar containers

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 4:45PM
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marie26

Off topic: mustangs, I just purchased a butter bell but it didn't come with any instructions. How does it work?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 8:35PM
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mustangs81

Marie, I may be too simplistic for you but I don't know where your knowledge begins. You fill the cup (which becomes the lid) with soften butter (pack it down), usually the cup holds on stick. Then fill the crock/bowl about 1/2 full with cool water, you will learn how much your butter bell needs. Turn the cup with the butter upside down and place it into the bowl of water. The water forms a seal so you want enough water to come almost to the top when the cup is placed upside down in the water.

Replace the water every three days. Don't put it in the refrigerator because the cold would slightly shrinking the butter then it would fall into the water.

Hope I have answered your question.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 9:58PM
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marie26

Mustangs, you answered my question. I had tried to do it that way but obviously put way too little water and the butter fell into it. Thanks for the response.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 11:31PM
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anrsaz

Hi mustangs, I saw your post and love this plant box! But I didn't know what a butter bell is, nor heard of it. Cool, thanks for the info!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 12:05PM
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livingthedream

I dislike salt and pepper and napkins sitting out between meals, let alone other condiments. It takes less time to put them away than to keep moving them around and cleaning them. Or remembering to clean them, until the moment you hand them to a guest.

I do keep several salt shakers and pepper mills in the kitchen: nice ones for the table stored with the flatware, others in the cabinet over the snack area, and utilitarian containers for several types of salt in a cabinet in the prep area. The snack salts occasionally roam (and sometimes turn up months later in one of my kids' rooms or out in the garden), so I keep backups.

Dinner napkins are stored with the plates, luncheon in the snack area flatware drawer. (After losing too many pieces of my nicer stuff (see above), I have also learned the benefit of keeping an inexpensive set of snack flatware.)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 12:28PM
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mustangs81

Annellis, A butter bell is to keep butter fresh and spreadable without refrigeration. I had the potter in our family make mine to my specifications but there are a lot available on the web or places like TJMaxx.

This link shows you how it works.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 1:00PM
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liz_h

We have a lazy susan in the middle of the table. On the rare occasion that we have company I may move it, depending on the meal & how I decide to set the table. A napkin holder and our salt & peppermill set stay there. The only problem is that all sorts of other stuff tends to get stuck on the lazy susan as well. But a lack of neatness is a problem through the whole house for us. We're getting better at picking up after ourselves, but still have room for improvement.

We also keep kosher salt and a pepper mill at the stove. The problem there is that the peppermill at the stove doesn't work real well, so when we want a lot of pepper in the kitchen the table pepper mill gets shanghaid. One of these years I'll buy another decent pepper mill. The funny thing is the good pepper mill/salt set cost me 25 cents at a garage sale 30 years ago. I paid real money for the lousy one!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 11:32PM
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wannadanc

Should I even mention that although I live alone, I have one set near dining room table, another on kitchen counter near stove, and a THIRD set to the left of my computer keyboard in a separate room. This IS where I have most of my meals -----arrggghhhhhhhh!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 4:47PM
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