Sunday, October 3, 2010

Simple Pleasures: On Black Pepper

The other day I dragged out my double stroller and took my children for a walk, and it was truly a fall day. The air was cool, a pleasant breeze kissed their noses, and I didn't pass out while pushing the two of them up the many hills in our neighborhood. I looked at the trees and smelled the fresh air, and really took time to appreciate the outdoors. Then I thought about pepper.

I know it's weird. Pepper is generally considered to be a sharp, hot-ish kind of flavor that makes you sneeze if it's fiery smoke reaches your nose. But I was blessed with a recent chain of events that led me to really appreciate something small, that I use,touch and look at nearly everyday.

About a week ago, my pepper mill broke. I tried to refill it and when I screwed off the top some sort of spring popped out and that was the end, it died a quick and springy death. But I was in the middle of making something (I'm sure it was very good) so I NEEDED pepper. I took out my Ninja
and whizzed some whole peppercorns, and was surprised by what I encountered when I opened the lid. 

The pepper I saw, smelled, and felt was not the same powdery mess found on so many store shelves.  That must be the dust leftover from making the real stuff, which I had right in my hands.  Some of the pieces were big, others were small.  It was a mixture of black, white, and gray tones.  It smelled floral, even fruity, far from the "Ah-choo!" that we've all encountered before.  It was awkward, awe-inspiring and average all at the same time.  But sometimes, it's just the little things.  Next time you get the chance, wake up and smell the cracked black pepper.

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