Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

Electric Pepper Grinders

Posted on October 29, 2010

Can you imagine what it was like before we had electric pepper grinders with built-in flashlights to light up where you’re grinding? I can’t. It seems like it was a different world back then.

I find it amazing how fast advanced technology gets normalized into our daily lives. If I make a salad, I don’t even consider grinding the pepper by hand. It’s just nowhere in my mindset. Yet, twenty or thirty years ago, my parents would have never dreamed that one day there would be an electric pepper grinder with a built-in flashlight.

My dad told me a story about grinding pepper when he was a little boy. They did it using a wooden contraption with gears and twisting. He said you couldn’t even see where you were grinding some of the time, because the grinder, itself, would block the light. So, not only would pepper miss the salad, but often the entire plate.

I was shocked. Here I was, so caught up in my own world of miraculous modern advances that I took for granted how difficult life must have been without them.

And the sound—the crunch crunch crunch of those archaic pepper grinding devices. Who would want to live like that? The gentle purr of my electric pepper grinder with built-in flashlight is almost comforting to me.

Some people talk about how the world is passing by too quickly—how we don’t appreciate using our hands anymore. But, I can’t imagine what a slog it must have been to manually grind pepper every day. Think of all the time wasted grinding by hand. With my electric pepper grinder, I have the opportunity to check the Times online or keep in touch with friends over email. None of that would be possible if I had to fill my evening manually grinding pepper.

I’m not judging people of the past. I’m sure there was some merit to straining to pepper a bowl of soup or plate of vegetables. I’m simply a man of my own era. The era of electric pepper grinding.

Yet even though I love my electric grinder, I can only look forward with eager wonder towards what new pepper grinding technologies might come along. We live in a remarkable time, on the cusp of the future. It’s beautiful.