Smalt—it’s a word used to describe a deep shade of blue, and it’s also the name of a Bluetooth-powered salt shaker that's been billed as the midpoint between smart home and smart dining. Unveiled a few days ago, it comes in two colors, black or white, and provides a sleek solution to the tedium of salt-shaking in the kitchen.
Smalt is the brainchild of Herb & Body, a California-based lifestyle company that’s obsessed with bringing the Internet of Things to the American kitchen, and Smalt is its flagship product. It's been in development purgatory for two years now; a press release from September of 2015 indicates that the company had attempted to launch this product, but it didn’t take off. That version of Smalt, though, seemed more focused on monitoring salt consumption than the one that exists today; it contained an option to choose between table and kosher salt and a way to track your own sodium intake per day.
Since the newest iteration of this product hit the press, though, it's attracted such platitudes as “the dumbest way to season your food.” Most of the collateral that accompanies this product reads like buzzword salad, never quite indicating why there's a particular necessity to infuse a totally menial kitchen task with liveliness. Among this intelligent, versatile vestibule’s capabilities? Well, it:
Changes colors before your eyes, adjusting to the mood of the room—fun, flair, or romance
Allows you to stream music
Pairs with Amazon Echo
Interacts with…your dinner guests? This isn’t quite clear
Lets you “amp up the flavor”—again, no specifics here, really
Allows you to measure, track, and control your salt intake (this is at the wee bottom of the landing page for the site, but it seems like the utility with the most value—at least to my mind)
Smalt is still in its conceptual stages—its makers are working up an Indiegogo campaign as we speak, and that funding campaign is set to launch mid-June. So far, though, the company seems to have embraced the mockery-tinged press in stride. It hasn’t yet finalized a price, though it’ll be 50% off if you sign up for the company’s email list right now.
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I can’t say I’ll buy it, but if you do, I promise not to judge. (Or I’ll bite my tongue.)
Do you see a need for Smalt in your kitchen? Let us know in the comments.
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.