Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Freshly-ground pepper

You've probably seen plenty of recipes calling for "freshly-ground pepper" and then thoughtlessly substituted the old pepper from the shaker. But it really does make a difference if you use pepper that is fresh from a mill. Not only in cooking, but at the table.

Don't believe me? Try this. The next time you go to your supermarket look out for built-in pepper grinders in the spice section. Several companies make them, including McCormick's, Spice Islands and Alessi (an Italian-American business). All you do is turn them upside down and rotate the bottom back and forth. They will not be cheap, but they'll give you the opportunity to check out the difference. Use the grinder in place of the pepper shaker, and you'll be converted.

At this point, you can graduate to buying your own fresh peppercorns and permanent mill. Do not be intimidated into buying an overly expensive, showy or unwieldy mill. This should become an everyday household object for you.