From Too Many Chefs -

May 15, 2005
Another Sunday Breakfast

coffee grinder.jpgWhen my mother came to visit in January, she brought us the gift of a bag of coffee beans that she picked up in Costa Rica on her trip through the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, she didn't realize that this English-oriented tea-drinking household did not include a coffee grinder. So when we went out to the flea market at St. Ouen I kept an eye out for an old-fashioned hand turned coffee grinder. I've always thought they were awfully pretty and the Critic for some reason has an obsession with them. I was lucky and found one that was expensive but not outside the range of what I was willing to pay. And since the Critic had shown such a strange enthusiasm for a manual coffee grinder I decided to hide it away until his birthday as a surprise.

And then I forgot about it. It was "hidden" in a plastic bag on top of the baby's dresser. (Tip: this is actually a VERY good place to hide a present from your spouse. If he sees it - unlikely - he assumes it's some kind of Baby Stuff that is inherently uninteresting.) The Critic's birthday came and went and a couple of times since then I tantalized him with stories of the "forgotten" present but whenever I did it was when the baby was asleep in his room and I couldn't fetch the present.

Finally, last night I bravely tip-toed into the baby's room (is that an oxymoron?) and brought out the present. And he was more excited than I had hoped. And this morning we finally tried the Costa Rican coffee, ground by hand in our own Peugeot grinder. And it was delicious - thanks, Mom!

By the way, you may be asking yourself whether the Peugeot who made (and still makes) coffee grinders is the same one that makes cars. Well, it is! Peugeot started out making small mechanical tools like coffee grinders, moved to bicycles in the 1920s and finally ended up making cars. And in a tribute to its origins, the company still produces coffee grinders. But mine has a lovely patina and a broken metal Peugeot plaque and I reckon it dates from somewhere in the beginning of the 20th century. Decorative and and useful - my favourite kind of kitchen gadget!

Posted by Meg in Sussex at May 15, 2005 3:39 PM | TrackBack

I don't think I tell you enough (or if ever) how much I enjoy your writing. You are a great writer!

As for good hiding places, I find under the bathroom sink another place husbands ignore/fear!

Beautiful grinder!

Posted by Alisa on May 16, 2005 at 7:27 AM

I have a modern Peugeot pepper grinder. Fantastic stuff. Only problem is that it is too good. I like my pepper to have different texture. A good pepper grinder will grind the pepper to a very uniform size. Oh well, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Posted by Huan on May 17, 2005 at 2:24 AM

We have had the same Peugeot peppermill in our family since before I was borne ('62) and it is still going strong.

I got my own personal one when I was 25 and use it daily.

I also have a Peugeot coffee grinder which, when it is taken out for a spin, makes the perfect grind.

It looks like you were fortuitous in your antiquing choice and will enjoy many years and generations of pleasure.

Posted by amanda on May 17, 2005 at 6:26 AM

Alisa, thanks a lot!

Huan and Amanda: it looks like I've joined an existing fan club! I'll have to keep an eye out for the pepper grinders now!

Posted by Meg in Paris on May 17, 2005 at 8:21 AM