July 29, 2011
Christopher Baker

Crystal and glass have associations with the world of fairy tales: Cinderella wore glass slippers; elves had them in their everyday wardrobe. Among humans, crystal symbolizes the marriage of opposites -- spirit and matter, and, of course, man and woman. Spice-of-life crystals of salt and sugar inspired these presents.

Years ago, when salt and sugar were scarce, fancy presentation reflected their costliness. The crystals look pretty in antique glass cellars, bowls, and shakers. At left, containers hold table salt, sea salt, and coarse salt.

Sel gris, Hawaiian 'alaea sea salt

Fleur de sel de Camargue

Herb-infused sugar crystals, amber crystals, and turbinado

Regular white sugar and French lump sugar

Demerara sugar


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