Please help resolve a dispute I have with my partner. Which has more holes, the salt or pepper shaker? It becomes an issue because at her home it is one way and opposite at mine, so when family dines at the other's home, no one gets it "right." I have started putting out a pepper mill and salt grinder instead, but truly love my silver shakers for nicer meals.
To Etiquetteer's surprise, there isn't agreement on this subject - nor is this helped by the quantity of salt and pepper shakers on the market with a wide variety of holes on both shakers - but Etiquetteer has always put salt in the shaker with one hole and pepper in that with three. Your solution for informal meals to use the salt grinder and pepper mill is most appropriate - especially as coarsely-ground salt and pepper play havoc shakers, no matter how many holes.
If this continues to become an issue with your partner, you might fill the shakers at your end of the table as you prefer and at her end as she prefers - but this could confuse any guests you have with you. You could also forego salt altogether, not that Etiquetteer has spoken to your doctor or anything . . . probably the simplest solution is to buy glass shakers so you can see what you’re shaking. You could also start each meal with a brief reminder announcement about which is which. While there shouldn’t be any embarrassment about shaking a bit into your palm first to see what you’re shaking, some diners get confused about what to do with unwanted seasoning left in their hands. But it’s really quite simple to brush it into your napkin.
Formal dinners certainly call for the best table appointments one has. If this remains a dispute, you may wish to trade in your silver shakers for Perfectly Proper silver salt cellars and salt spoons.