(Ground) Pepper, Please

A while back, I received a lovely gift bag of spices from Allspice. Amid the otherwise exotic offerings lurked a simple jar of course-ground black pepper. “Pre-ground pepper?” I thought. After all, it has long been drummed into my culinary psyche that freshly ground pepper is always best.

Listen up, cooks: It’s time to get that silly notion out of our heads.

I started using Allspice’s course-ground pepper, adding pinches to my recipes directly from the jar. I loved doing so for many reasons. One, I could tell precisely how much I was using (aren’t most pepper-grinders annoyingly inexact?). Two, the size of the little dots of pepper were perfectly consistent—pepper dust didn’t scatter and hide insidiously in the dish. And finally, the pepper’s flavor was as bright and spicy as if I did just grind it myself—Allspice is known for the freshness of its goods.

Try it. And if you become as much of a fan of the pre-ground pepper as I am, you may want to invest in Allspice’s two-tiered salt cellar. Handmade of oak and walnut by a Kentucky woodworker, the lovely vessel offers a graceful way to keep your salt and pepper handy—for an exact pinch here and there.

Allspice is at 400 E. Locust St.; 868-0808; allspiceonline.com. –By Wini Moranville

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