Smith’s Salt ‘n’ Shake Crisps! Could there ever be a more British idea for a packet of crisps? The crisps that you salt yourself.
OK, at the end of the day all they were was regular old salted crisps, but there was something strangely compelling about opening a packet, rummaging around inside for the little blue sachet of salt, sprinkling said salt over the crisps, then holding the packet closed at the neck and furiously shaking it about in the hope that the salt might just reach the crisps at the bottom of the packet. It was just fun!
The brand was first launched in the 1920’s, making them one of the UK’s oldest types of crisps. They were apparently invented by Frank Smith and sold to pubs in the Cricklewood area of London. Prior to the invention of the “little blue bag of salt”, Smith had provided salt cellars for people to salt their crisps with, but the sachet came into existence simply because people were using too much salt and the cellars were emptied too quickly.
The little blue bag unsurprisingly became the identifier for these crisps, eventually being turned into a little character who appeared on the packets. Strangely he was square in shape, whilst the sachets were rectangular.
I have two very vivid memories of these crisps from my childhood. The first was the day we bought a packet of Salt ‘n’ Shake and found no less than six little blue bags of salt. I needed a drink after finishing that packet I can tell you.