Having meals or drinks in one’s own home is one of life’s great comforts. A nicely designed kitchen with good appliances is a necessity in preparing enjoyable dishes. Among the most useful things a chef could own, a good pepper mill is a handy tool.
Chefs and diners use pepper mills to grind fresh spices for flavoring all kinds of dishes from burgers to curries. There are manual or electric versions designed to process peppercorns and other raw spices. In all cases, a mechanical rotator works within a grinding ring to crack spices fed into the mechanism from the mill’s storage chamber. Manual models are operated by twisting knobs or pushing levers to get the face to rotate and crack peppercorns against a raised ring in the interior of the mill’s housing. Electric models run more or less similarly, and many are handheld models powered by batteries so that they could be move from counter to table for convenience.
With all models you can adjust output for fine or coarse grounds, which is done by varying the space between the grinding head and the ring. Many can be set to deliver a wide range of pepper grinds, while others only feature grind pre-sets controlled by a dial or knob. No one design is intrinsically better, most users simply choose between the different types according to their decorative tastes and cooking or dining preferences.
Ceramic or acrylic-type mills utilize mechanisms made of these materials which are capable of handling all kinds of raw spices as well as salt.
Metal-type mills have metal rotators which are good for processing most spices, but this type is very likely to get damaged if used on salt.
Traditional mills are weighty table pieces made from wood and feature classic decors to match traditionally-styled kitchens.
Modern styles with colorful designs are preferred by many users who also own other modern kitchen appliances. Some new designs are almost architectural statements by themselves, reflecting a variety of design languages from minimalist steel to cubist sculptures to trendy or kitschy plastic things. But in all cases a good mill should be durable enough to survive a few falls to the floor without cracking, and have a lidded chamber to store peppercorns that is easily filled via a wide mouth. (more…)