I Think Pepper Was Smaller in the Olden Days

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There are a few things I haven’t made public about myself on this blog.  Things that, although impressive, are also the sort of thing you don’t want to go bragging about because people will think you’re obnoxious with all your braggy bragging.  So I really debated about whether or not to reveal this next fact about myself or not.  After discussing it with my pastor and the weird guy in town who wears jingle bells on his shoes, … I decided I would.

My name is Karen and I ate all of my peas last night.

Now that that’s out of the way, I can continue on with the post.  I have a bit of a thing for antique or … well … just old, salt and pepper shakers.  Mostly of the silver variety, but any old salt and pepper shaker will do.  The problem with them, is I buy them and then promptly stick them in the “old salt and pepper shaker drawer” (which is directly below the “old napkin drawer”).  Because although antique (old) salt and pepper shakers are beautiful … they never really seem to work.

Not to brag again, but I did a bit of detective work and I discovered that the reason they don’t seem to work very well is because the holes are too small for pepper to come out.  Which lead me to believe that pepper must have been smaller in the olden days.  I really could become a very successful pea eating detective if I chose to.

So, into the drawer the beautiful salt and pepper shakers go.  Every once in a while I’ll think to myself … Eh … they can’t be as bad as I’m remember them.  And I drag them out of their drawer for the night, only to discover that yes indeed, they are that bad.

During one night with a particularly stubborn pepper shaker, I shook my arm right out of the socket.   Mind you it was a rather large batch of french fries … but still.  That’s pretty extreme.

Then one day it hit me.  Right in the head.  Like a cartoon coconut.  I could just make the  holes bigger.   All of them!

And I did.

And you can too.
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Just unscrew the top of your pepper (or salt) shaker …


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Hold it down, and drill away.  Find a drill bit that fits the hole perfectly and then drill the shaker with one size up from that.


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Yup.  That’s right.  Just drill right through the original hole to make it bigger.


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As you can see, the reason you have to remove the top of the shaker is because of the metal bits that the drill grinds out.  If you didn’t remove the top, those silver bits would end up in your salt or pepper and you’d eat them. It could kill you.  At the very least it might turn you crazy and you’d end up wearing jingle bells on your shoes.


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Maybe the reason they didn’t do this in the olden days is because they didn’t have cordless drills.

Just so you know, the shaker on the right (with the cleaner holes) is the one I drilled out.  The one on the left has the original holes.

Or they didn’t need to because their pepper was smaller.


You could also use a very small finishing nail to do the same thing, (just hammer a nail that’s slightly bigger than the original hole into the hole) but the drill will do a neater, cleaner job.  For those of you worried about wrecking priceless antiques, these are not priceless antiques.  These are old salt and pepper shakers.

I’m a firm believer in using whatever you have.  I do not own any “good dishes”, “good linens” or “good towels”.  I use everything I have.  Otherwise, what’s the point?  So unless your S & P has Tiffany stamped on the underside, don’t worry about drilling them.

When you’re finished drilling your holes, remember to tap out the silver.  Just bang the lid on your work surface.  Then take a paper towel or clean cloth and wipe the inside.  Then to be triple safe, just run a toothpick through the holes to make sure they’re all clear of metal shavings and wipe the top again.

Finally, fry up a massive batch of french fries and give ’em a test run.  Side serving of peas optional.


  1. Amanda says:

    Well, Back in the day….. They used White pepper. Its more like powder. Makes you sneeze up a storm so have them old napkins handy! :)

  2. Caarin says:

    Fresh hot fries and peas sounds delicious…especially with salt and pepper..mmmm

  3. Jcrn says:

    Oops, do not click on the word Kmart above. It takes you to a shopping site. But the link for the video works fine.

  4. Jcrn says:

    Totally unrelated but since we’re entering the holiday season has anyone seen this controversial Kmart ad? Apparently, too racy for US television: http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/pantless-men-play-jingle-bells-with-their-junk-in-controversial-new-kmart-christmas-ad/story-e6frfmyi-1226764128291

  5. Jcrn says:

    I prefer using a pepper grinder even when guests are dining with us but I appreciate your problem. My mother always went with older shakers because they looked so nice,. Also, has anyone compared many of the older dinner plates? While not always the case, many were smaller than today’s plates ( including the ones I inherited from mom). Fine by me because it helps control portion size and I can use that control. But I wonder if it means people used to eat less ? Especially the ladies who were supposed to have “ladylike” appetites…even if they didn’t?,

  6. Deborah Rokos says:

    I have a collection of pepper grinders that don’t work!! I have ones with plastic grinders, and one’s with metal grinders, big ones, little ones, wood ones, and plastic…the only kind I don’t have, is one that works!! Any suggestions?

    • Karen says:

      LOL. The one I have that works quite well is a Peugeot. You adjust the grind using a silver knob type thingee at the bottom of the grinder. ~ karen!

  7. Amber says:

    Sea salt with fresh ground pepper popcorn. You’re welcome.

    • Karen says:

      I thank you. But popcorn isn’t allowed. And I don’t like popcorn anyway. I WANT CHIPS. REAL CHIPS. CORN CHIPS, SALT AND VINEGAR CHIPS, PRINGLE CHIPS, TORTILLA CHIPS. CHIP-CHIPS!!! But as I said. Thank you for your support. Now I’m going to gnaw on my cat’s ear. ~ karen

    • Karen says:

      LOL!!!! I thought you were commenting on the Paleo meal plan post! I’m a dufus. Back to the cat ear. ~ karen

  8. Karen Best says:

    I have the same silver plated salt and pepper shakers. Inherited from my grandmother (the mother of all collectors – even had jars of cotton balls from pill bottles). I use them as decorations rather than for function.

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