Tag Archives: Tennessee

You Have HOW Many Salt & Pepper Shakers?

13 Mar

Just 20,000 or so sets. Is that unusual?

Vegetable Salt & Pepper Shakers

Vegetable Salt & Pepper Shakers Photo Courtesy of the Museum Website

The Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg, TN is must-see. Why, exactly?

  1. Because everything else in Gatlinburg in woefully touristy, neon-y, and kitschy.
  2. Because you had no idea that salt and pepper shakers were made in so many styles.
  3. Because there are walls dedicated to themes: fruits, bears, birds, & basic pillars.
  4. Because when someone takes the time to collect 20,000 of something, you should stop in and take a gander. I mean, seriously.
Southern Belle Salt & Pepper Shakers

Southern Belle Salt & Pepper Shakers Photo Courtesy of the Museum Website

One of a Kind
This is the only S&P museum in the world (no surprise, there).

The woman who owns the collection started it because she was amused by how something so simple garners so much attention and personality. Good point.

Many sets were collected by the owner, but once word got out, even more were given as gifts and sent from people around the world. The kindness of strangers: Red Cross aid and Salt & Pepper contributions…

Bee Salt & Pepper Shakers

Bee Salt & Pepper Shakers Photo Courtesy of the Museum Website

Musings on Collecting
A collection says something about the collector; and the culture that inspires it.

Interested in other quirky collections I’ve found on my travels? Check out

What do you collect? Where do you find your pieces? What started the collection?


Cornbread Festival

3 Jul

Cornbread Festival sign
The NATIONAL Cornbread Festival celebrated its 15th year when I visited in May 2011. Way to go  South Pittsburg, TN to have a national presence! And a presence it did have: thousands upon thousands of people and even a newspaper printed just for the occasion. Personally I don’t think that was necessary, nor did they need live web-streaming, but they had all media platforms covered and gosh dernit they were gonna use em!

It’s a truly glorious festival with giveaways from Martha White, carnival rides, greasy food, and spectacular people watching.

The true gifts were hidden away at the poorly attended bluegrass tent where men who had worked hard their whole lives found joy in music and happened upon a young boy who could play and sing with a soul much older than he. How do you harmonize when you’ve only just met?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Bluegrass, posted with vodpod

Plate of Cornbread Samples

Of course there’s a cornbread bake-off. They do it with a twist: add variety to the traditional recipe. I wasn’t a fan. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and I just wanted heaping servings of warm decadent cornbread. Instead there were sampler sizes of chicken chive cornbread flaps, Hawaiian cornbread fritters, and Tooti Fruity cornbread balls, among others. I sat in the corner of the eating tent, curled myself into a cornbread ball and wept.

And then the eating contests. A race for freezing cold ice cream, and to see who can force down “cornbread” minus sugar, liquid, and other ingredients that make it palatable. The things we’ll do for a t-shirt!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Eating Contests, posted with vodpod