Friday, August 31, 2012

An Ode to My Pepper Grinder

One of the neat things about my history is that I can tell you exactly when I got really into cooking. I've always loved food and enjoyed cooking, but it was the end of summer, 2009 when I figured out that this was something huge to me. It's odd how these formative moments can come from something so apparently simple. That summer was the first time I had freshly ground black pepper on a fried egg.

I'm not very good wish spicy foods. I tend to avoid them like the plague because I've never understood why anyone would choose to eat food that hurts. Because of this, I would never ever cook with pepper. I know it's not spicy, but I confess I was scared of it. I didn't even keep it in the house.

Then, one fateful summer evening I was round the house of a friend who was himself a fairly decent cook, and he made fried eggs. He ground fresh salt and black pepper on to the eggs while he was cooking them in butter. Since I'm polite, I didn't say anything and simply sat down to eat my egg. I tasted the butter crisped white, the golden yolk, the tang of the salt, and the pepper…. oh the pepper! It brought out everything, enhanced it, brightened it. It was one of the best things I've ever tasted.

I was sold. Immediately. I think I went out and bought a pepper grinder the next day. Now, I use pepper in almost everything and I'm incredibly sad that I missed it for so many years. You'll see in many of my recipes that I call for fresh ground pepper. It's so much better than the stuff you buy pre ground. One day, I'd love to have a selection of gourmet pepper that I can pair with different recipes, but for now, I'm content to just never be far from my pepper grinder.

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