When you hear the word crystal, does it conjure up images of grandma’s covered candy dish? Well, I’m now a grandmother, 9 times over actually, so I’m entering into my crystal phase. Truthfully, I have a cabinet in the dining room full of crystal pieces that we received as wedding gifts and on other occasions over the years. When we entertain, I like to bring some of those pieces out to add a little sparkle to the dining table. But recently, I’ve begun using crystal in a more daily, utilitarian way with a couple of new purchases.

My husband loves tea, and rather than using sugar or artificial sweetener, he prefers honey. We had a honey jar that sat on the kitchen counter for months and he used it often. One day, he took the honey dipper out and the whole bottom of the glass jar broke off. It was like the honey had gotten hard and just broke the thin glass bottom. So, we had been on the lookout for a new, sturdier version and after looking at several stores without success, my husband found a new one online. This honey jar is beautiful, heavy, and crystal. It even has little bees on the glass, and for $20 on Amazon, it was a good value. It came with a wooden dipper, but we still had our old brass version, so we are using that. Here is the link if you are interested: Amazon.com: Studio Silversmith Crystal Honey Jar, Beehive Honey Dish : Home & Kitchen.

We were in Hawaii in March, and one of the things our daughter signed us up for was a rum tasting at the Kohana Rum company. We had been there before, but never taken the tour, so it was really interesting to see how instead of using molasses like most rums are processed with, they are doing an Agricole method using Hawaiian sugar cane pressed juice. In addition to selling rum, they have also partnered with a local island honey company to use the rum barrels to soak the honey in. Of course, my husband couldn’t pass that up! Using the oak barrels gives the honey a warm, rich flavor that is distinctive and allowed us to support local Hawaiian businesses at the same time. After filling the new crystal honey container with the Kohana honey, it looks so nice on the kitchen counter.

The next crystal purchase was less pre-planned than the honey jar. We were in a William Sonoma store recently when I saw this cute little crystal decanter with a cork fitted top for $17.95. I asked the salesperson what it was for, exactly, and she said it was to use for bitters when making cocktails, which I should have figured out since it said “elixir” on the front:) We don’t make cocktails that contain bitters, but it was so cute, I wanted to think of something practical I could use it for. Standing in the store, we started coming up with ideas like salad dressing vinegarette, balsamic vinegar, and then Jim said “soy sauce.” Why hadn’t I thought of that?

Have I mentioned lately that my husband is a genius? Well, he is, in more ways than one. From the big things like nuclear engineering to the small things like soy sauce, he is always thinking. On that same recent trip to Oahu, Hawaii, we were introduced to a new flavor in the Aloha Soy Sauce family called Aloha Gold. If you are a soy sauce connoisseur, you know that the Aloha brand is the superior product, and now the company has created what they are calling their premium soy sauce that has a richer, bolder taste than their regular offerings.

The cracked cap still works, but not the best…
Ahh, much better!

We love soy sauce, a habit developed during our years on the island. It basically replaces salt and adds a great umami profile to Asian dishes. Needless to say, we fell in love with this new gourmet flavor, but didn’t want to bring it home in our suitcase. We ordered it on Amazon: Amazon.com : Aloha Gold Hawaiian Premium Soy Sauce Shoyu : Grocery & Gourmet Food for $20. The first time we used it, the cap cracked, but other than that it was perfect. Enter the crystal decanter, which is so much nicer than the glass and plastic decanters you can buy at the store. I washed the new bottle, filled it with the Aloha Gold, and set it on the kitchen counter. Perfection!

I am not suggesting that one should start putting all of their condiments in crystal containers that dominate the countertops. But it doesn’t take much money to put a little sparkle into your kitchen in small doses. Whether you see something new in the crystal arena or pull a crystal family heirloom out of hiding, incorporating these items into your daily life in a practical way can really elevate your home and the way you feel about using items as mundane as honey and soy sauce. Who knows, maybe it’s time to go find grandmas covered candy dish and bring it out for a spin on the coffee table!

Good tidings,


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