It seems an utter shame that so many restaurants continue to utilize table salt as the means by which we diners salt our food. Maybe their hope is that the food is perfectly seasoned when it lands in front of you. And quite often it is. There are times, however, when I find myself in need of a light dusting of salt but table salt will not do. It’s harsh and unrelenting saltiness hides the subtle flavors the chef worked so hard to create. It’s like covering “Water Lillies” in gauze. It’s beauty is still seen but only through an obtrusive mask that hides the bold bush strokes and brilliant colors that reveal Monet’s genius. It’s like a slap in the face when all you want is a hug.


My solution to this salty dilemma is a contact case. I do not intend for you to cover your food in the saline solution used to clean your contacts but rather house a small amount of Maldon Sea Salt on one side and perhaps Fleur De Selon the other. Or maybe a Murray River Pink Salt is more your style.

This may must be the most pretentious post yet but you will forgive me the next time you’re at a fine restaurant eager to savor a brilliantly crafted dish only to find it’s under-seasoned. A few flakes of Maldon and your dinner is saved.

The contact case is an inconspicuous vessel to house these fine salts. Perfectly seasoned food without offending the chef.

This case is another beautiful option.


It was given to me by my dear friend Julie (partner-in-crime in all things cooking class related) who found it at a gift shop near the Grand Canyon. We also think another great option would be those pill cases that have an individual slot for each day of the week – just think of all your salt options!


This concludes my most persnickety post to date. I apologize for the snobbery but you must know by now that I have a thing for salt. I never go without it. 🙂


30 Responses to “how to be not without salt”

  1. kamran siddiqi

    I thought I was the only one. I bring a small salt shaker full of sea salt with me whenever I go to a restaurant. Well, actually, my mom carries it in her purse, but hey- I can’t stand using table salt. There’s something about it that I have never liked. I love the contact case idea! Might have to do that, instead of insisting that my mother bring salt with us whenever the family goes out.

  2. Sonja Groset

    That’s a great tip Ashley! I have a little shaker of fine sea salt that I keep at my desk at work and almost bought a fancy Swiss Army travel salt container. I am going to dig out an old contact lens case now and fill it up.

  3. Yossy

    You are definitely not alone. One of my favorite dining companions always carries a container of himilayan pink salt in her purse and I love her for it!

  4. Laura

    As pretentious or persnickety as you think this post may be, I think it’s an extremely resourceful idea. And the way you wrote about using good quality salt to bring out the flavors of a carefully crafted dish was both mouthwatering and delightful. I completely concur that ordinary table salt just won’t do it many times. Thanks for this great idea!

  5. my little expat kitchen

    What a great idea. I have a pill case that is so cute and since I never use it I’m gonna turn it into a salt case. I’m a fleur de sel freak by the way but also a secret admirer of maldon. Sea salt is the best kind of salt, isn’t it?

  6. MG Atwood

    What a great idea! I too am not so fond of table salt…perfect I will be on the lookout for the perfect inconspicuous case.

  7. Stephanie S

    I love this idea! I will often times go without salt instead of using a shaker full of table salt. Fine restaurants will grind some fresh pepper for you, but they never think of offering a beautiful cellar of salt…this is a perfect (and discrete) way to remedy the situation!

  8. Julie

    Not persnickety at all. More like a public service announcement. 🙂 Salt is serious business! hehe!

  9. Cait

    My coworkers make fun of me for having sea salt and a pepper mill on my desk, but they always come in my office looking for them.
    I love salt, but can make do when I am out with table salt, what I can’t abide by is pre-ground pepper. I once saw a beautiful sterling silver pendant on a long chain that was a tiny pepper mill. I have always regretted not buying it.

  10. Leonie

    I think your idea is pure genius. In fact I’m going to make it my mission to find a nice salt container to use for such outings myself.

    Genius I tell you

  11. Barbara J.

    LOVE this idea – I was using a little snack zip bag! I actively shared my special salt with the rest of my family and now they prefer the sea salt also. My best description for this salt is “mellow.”

  12. gentry

    I thought I was the only one who did such a thing. I love the idea of the contact case…it makes so much sense and is the perfect size…especially to carry two different salts! I literally have a small shaker in my desk drawer at work! I love your blog!

  13. Laura (Pinot and Prose)

    Brilliant. Absolutely BRILLIANT. I can never bring myself to use table salt so this is just inspired – I like that, with a contact case, you can add two salts. Patricia Wells got me going on lemon salt – I’d put this on one side for when a dish could use, not only salt, but a little acidic brightening as well.

    Dare I say you’ve changed my life? Eating out will never be the same for me!

  14. katie moroney

    Love this idea! As a cook I am very aware of kitchen etiquette and would never dream of asking for extra seasoning (unless I felt the meal had not been made with much love – like on a club sandwich at my local pub). But, we all make errors and sometimes a little seasoning can save the day and the ego. Thanks for sharing your clever little gadget.

  15. Andrew Brown

    I am currently stationed at a hospital in Afghanistan. The food here is void of flavor and cooked to death. I had my sister send me salt herbs and spices. Before I read this blog I had been bringing little drug bags of salt and spices with me to chow….. As you can imagine I got some strange looks. Needless to say this is much more convenient.
    Thanks for the idea Ashley

  16. endless nights

    i love this! i’m a big salt fan! i got a small container for salt at the container store – it’s the size of a big thing of floss, with two compartments and a flip top… they also have some cute mini shakers too. =)


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