The longevity of a pepper mill

pepper mills

‘Can you get a new pepper mill when you’re out shopping?’

A timely reminder from husband as he shoots out the door off to work in the morning. Bloody pepper mill, it’s broken again and I am fed up of mending it. Have pepper mills always been so delicate? I don’t think so. I’m sure in the Olden Days they lasted for eternity and got passed down through the generations.

Husband and I have been together for 11 years now and we have gone through a fair few pepper mills in that time, four maybe five. He likes to add a few twists of freshly milled pepper to his food and I must admit I do too, just like the Italians use only we don’t stop at a pasta dish.

I bought our first mill sets from Marks and Spencer on Oxford Street, I assumed they would be great quality and last for ages. They were beautiful to look at, shiny aluminium and black rubber which was very in vogue at the time. I was very proud of them only they didn’t last that long at all.

The trouble is, once you have used it a fair bit you can’t really take it back and complain can you? Had we been too vigorous in our milling? Was I using a particularly stubborn pepper corn? Surely the grinder should have lasted longer?

Never mind, I went out and replaced it with another mill from John Lewis this time, now surely that one would be of excellent quality right?

Wrong. Well in all fairness it did work very well, for quite some time too, say a few years but the day came when it gave up on us and broke.

Are we in an era where things aren’t made to last any longer? Is this the Use it and Throw it Era? The Disposable Civilisation.

I picked another one up, Marks and Spencer’s again, it was a beautiful design and looked fabulous on my table. I was pleased and husband was too as he could mill fresh pepper on his food again.

Same story, after a fair bit of use it konked out and was unceremoniously lobbed in the bin, I tutted at it too as the lid came down signing the closure of that mill in our life.

It was coming up to Christmas when I saw my next victim sitting on the Christmas gift shelves of Sainsburys. A beautiful white stained wood on the top and bottom, a long transparent bit for the pepper and a silver look knob on the top and stem inside. I wrapped it up and put it under the tree, funnily enough my mother had had the same idea and had put one under the tree for him too which I gave back to her as we ‘didn’t need two’.

Oh but we did.

It worked beautifully at first but then an internal piece kept falling out of place meaning I had to tip out all the peppercorns into a bowl to mend it. A right pain. Wouldn’t it be better to buy another? What again? Should I superglue it or will that poison us?

I did mend it a fair few times until I came to loath the mill and cuss Sainsburys every time I had to mend it and had to sweep up peppercorns from the kitchen floor that had rolled off the top. Have you heard the sound of peppercorns bouncing across your kitchen tops? It’s like a tickety tick tic tic and if you drop quite a few of them all together it’s quite a concert.

But still.

I dug out the old, short red pepper pot in the meantime which somehow is still going strong although not so pretty.

Yesterday I was in Asda, getting some BBQ stuff in as it looks like we’re in for a scorcher this weekend. I fell upon this mill in their kitchen aisle and popped it in my trolley. At £6 it’s a bargain, it’s not as pretty as some I have owned but I have filled it and have it ready to go.

How long do you give it?

Tonight will be it’s first use and I shall come back to this post when it dies on us to test the longevity of a pepper mill.

PS. The other small mill you can see in the picture is the Santa Maria one called BBQ and Grill Mesquite, I picked it up at BritMums Live and we love it, it’s a smoky blend of onion, garlic, black pepper and salt. We grind it on everything, vegetables, pasta, meat and fish and once it’s all consumed it will be binned as it’s not refillable, maybe that is the way forward?

But then what about land fill?



  1. August 28, 2015 / 5:53 PM

    We have one old faithful that is still going strong. I have used the pestle and mortar before though when desperate though! :)

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