Implements of destruction.

From L., 16 January 2010, Recommendations: peppermills and kitchen shears?

Q: Can you recommend a top-notch pepper grinder and a tough pair of kitchen shears?

A: There’s nothing worse than a pepper grinder that spits out uneven, huge chunks of black peppercorn when you’re looking for an even grind. I’ve gone through my share of pepper grinders in my time and the finest pepper grinder is the Unicorn Magnum grinder. It’s not all that expensive – $45 or so for the large size – and you can load a decent quantity of peppercorns through the side. The Unicorn features a wide range of grinds so you can finish your dish with a powder-fine dusting of pepper or a bold, coarse accent.

If you’re looking to grind other seasonings – especially salt, or salt-based blends, or anything even slightly moist, like certain seeds or cacao beans – you should consider the Kuhn Rikon vase grinders. These feature a ceramic grinder, which will not corrode. Ordinary metal-based grinders will rust if you attempt to use them to grind salt, just as exposure to salt causes cars to rust over time, but ceramic grinders will not. I like to use the Kuhn Rikons for custom seasoning blends – I combine coarse salt, fennel seeds, orange peel, and bay leaf in one, and coarse salt, coriander seed, white peppercorn, and garlic powder in another. Give it a try.

Now, the kitchen shears. How do these differ from scissors? Kitchen shears are tough – you can use them to cut through the joints and cartilage in chicken, as well as more mundane tasks like dispatching kitchen twine and cardboard. The Wusthof Come-Apart shears are a favorite shear – durable and inexpensive at under $20.

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