Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Fallen Comrade

Last night in the midst of a busy service I lost my most trusted companion, my pepper grinder. This is no ordinary pepper grinder. This baby is solid brass, imported from Greece, and grinds pepper like wood in a wood chipper. It has been dropped numerous times and has the dents to show for it. I have warded off more than one waiter with it and it could use a good polishing. I have to fix the base every now and again so I continues to stand straight but I love my pepper grinder. Knives have come and gone, but my grinder has always been with me. He has seen me through my greatest triumphs and he has ground pepper onto some of my worst disasters. I grabbed it like I have for the past 10 years to season some meat and when I went to turn the nobby thingy nothing came out. The top has been stripped. You see there is a square nut that fits into a square hole which makes the whole thing work, but over the years, and well over a couple hundred pounds of pepper corns, the little square hole has been rounded out. I have turned this thing countless times and last night was the last turn. I think I heard him say, "can't...go...on". It was all very sad. I looked at Carlos, then back at the grinder. I turned around and looked out into the dinning room, then back at the grinder. I twisted the nobby thingy hoping to see some pepper hit the meat but nothing. NOTHING!!! Keep in mind, all of this happened in movie style super slow-mo. "Noooooo!!!" I kept screaming in my mind and shaking an angry fist at the cooking gods, "Carlos, I think the grinder has taken a dive, it doesn't work." I looked back at the grinder...turn, turn...nothing coming out. I almost called dinner service off and sent all those hungry diners home but my trusty ol' solid brass Atlas pepper grinder imported all the way from Greece reminded me that dinner must go on. That in the words of Fernande Point, "The customer must never know something has gone wrong." I looked lovingly at my grinder and put him back into his place promising to finish service with another but to return later and see if we can get him fixed. It is with a heavy heart I write tonight. I hope I can find him the help he needs, no, the help he deserves.

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