My love of cooking knows no bounds. When I see new kitchen equipment advertised I get all jittery and excited! New electric can opener? That’s for me! New santoku knife? Gotta have it! Rice cooker, slow cooker, pressure cooker, any kind of cooking cooker…they are all something I NEED! Right? Wiseguy can you tell you that I drive him bonkers with my explanations and sales tactics on why I NEED this culinary equipment. With all my kitchen (toys) supplies, there is definitely one thing I have never regretted purchasing and Wiseguy agrees it was, and is, my best purchase. It still works as well as it did 20 years ago and we use it every day. Not just once, but sometimes two to three times a day. My luxurious kitchen splurge was a simple, yet elegant, and EXPENSIVE pepper mill.
What is so special about a pepper mill you may ask? If you use pepper like we use pepper, you will notice the flavour difference between pre-ground pepper and fresh ground pepper. To give you a better understanding, compare it to coffee. If you have fresh coffee beans that you grind up with each cup of coffee and compare it to pre-ground coffee that as been getting air time, you will notice the difference in the smell and the taste. Pepper to me is like fresh brewed coffee.
I first recall having fresh ground pepper at a restaurant. The server came around with a grinder for parmesan cheese. Being a cheese-a-holic I had my plate blanketed in cheese (it was a lovely snow-top on my caesar salad). I was ready to dig in when she came back and asked if we would like fresh ground pepper. After our replies of “yes please” she whipped out a large baseball bat from behind her back, faced the end toward my cheeserific (from my dictionary meaning very, very, very delicously cheesy) salad, then began twisting the top in a clockwise motion. I could smell the pepper as it floated gently through the air and landed sporadically over my white, fluffy parmesan cheese. It smelled good. It tasted even better! Seriously, if you have ever used a pre-filled pepper shaker, you will notice that you need A LOT of pepper in order to get some sort of peppery flavour. Not so with the pepper mill. That fresh ground goodness is incredible. It might make you sneeze, but it’s still incredible. After that, I yearned for the flavour of that freshly ground spice.
My desire was fulfilled one day whilst I was working at the mall. I was on my lunch break and I ventured into an area of the mall that I had not frequented before. I came upon a store that had a mandoline displayed. No, not a mandolin, but a mandoline; a food slicer. New kitchen toy! It was shiny, stainless steel. It looked incredible! It was also almost $200.00. My hourly wage was $8.35 so that was quite a lot of money for a new toy. I couldn’t come up with justification for purchasing that glorious item. Suddenly, something gleamed out of the corner of my eye. The track lighting was shining down on something. I moved in for a closer examination and I saw that it was a smaller version of the baseball bat (a.k.a. pepper mill) from the restaurant. The day of reckoning had come.
The sales associate came over to explain the benefits of this particular pepper mill. Benefits? I had worked in retail sales long enough to know a sales pitch when I heard one.
She: This is a Peugeot pepper mill. I’m not sure if you knew or not, but they are made in France by renowned mills and grinder specialists.
She: You will love this particular model. At the bottom there is a dial so you can choose what size grind you would like.
Me: *blank stare
She: You can go from a coarse grind, which is great to make peppercorn steak, or a fine grind, good for soups and salads.
Me: *look of shock. Mouth drops open. Say wha-what?
She pulled out a nice, white sheet of paper and proceeded to show me how each of the six grinding levels ground the peppercorns. Hallelujah! I was in pepper heaven!
Me: How much is it? (I had just cashed my paycheque and could splurge a little. My brain guessed it would probably be expensive…like $30.00 or something)
She: It’s $82.00 and worth every penny.
Me: *Eyes bulged out, mouth dropped open, speechlessness, catatonia.
She: *continues to extol the virtues of the masterpiece. Blah blah blah…lifetime warranty…blah blah blah… “and restaurants use Peugeot pepper mills because the grind is always perfect and they last forever.”
Me: Restaurants???? Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! Wrap it up!
Yup, I bought my Peugeot pepper mill 20 years ago (and withheld the actual price of it until about 4 years ago.) Even after the great reveal, Wiseguy agrees it was one of the best purchases I ever made.
Since he was so impressed with that purchase I decided to wow him on his 50th birthday with A PEUGEOT PEPPER MILL! Not just any pepper mill, but the lazy man’s battery operated pepper mill AND salt mill. But that’s not all! How about lights? Yes, as you hit the magic button to grind your pepper (or salt), a light shines down. Oh yes, it’s the Peugeot Elis Electric Salt and Pepper Mills. Hallelujah it’s Pepper Heaven! A match made in heaven. The old and the new living happily to grind another day.
It’s days like these that I don’t mind the daily grind.
Pass the pepper please…