For the entirety of my adult life, I’ve subsided on shitty pepper mills bought at restaurant supply stores but after the latest recently became jammed and unusable I began to rethink things. Eventually, a dangerous thought crossed my mind: What if I decided to buy a non-shitty pepper mill. Which is how I ended up with a Peugeot.
(Full disclosure: I paid for the Peugeot with my own money, all $42 of it. For the reasons set forth below, I do not regret it.)
People (foodies or whatever) already know the virtue of a good pepper mill, but I was ignorant about such things until the Peugeot Paris showed up at more door. I regarded it with suspicion at first, but I was soon grinding pepper like an Olive Garden waiter. Compared to my old pepper grinder—a small, primitive metal cylinder that lasted longer than it deserved—the Peugeot Paris was a dream.
My hand wasn’t tired after grinding a meal’s worth of pepper as with the old one, which also had a habit of getting stuck. And the manual coarseness selector on the bottom works seamlessly. I soon found myself putting too much pepper in dishes, just because I could.
You may be wondering what any of this has to do with cars. Well, before Peugeot was a car company it was a pepper mill company. Founded in 1810, it built its first pepper mill in 1874. Peugeot caught on to the nascent car scene eventually, too, though that also formed the basis of a family dispute.
From The Independent:
In 1840, they made their first coffee mill. This remained in production until 1975, becoming electric along the way. The peppermill followed and its milling system was patented, all under the emblem of the lion.
The company stayed in the kitchen and made washing machines, radios and, during the 1960s, the first food processor – the Peugimix.
And so the status quo would have remained had it not been for the advent of the motor car. Armand Peugeot was a fan. His cousin Eugène was not. So the company was divided into two. Under the terms of the separation, Eugène’s company, Les Fils de Peugeot Frères, was banned from making cars and Armand’s half, La Société des Automobiles Peugeot, was forbidden from making tools, two-wheeled vehicles, tricycles and quadricycles with a saddle.
Eugène’s sons launched their own car brand, Lion Peugeot, in 1905, and began making models.
The two companies later again merged; these days they are again separate concerns, while the Peugeot family retains a stake in both the pepper mill business and Groupe PSA.
Which is all to say that my Peugeot Paris pepper mill doesn’t seem to have been designed with aerodynamics, power, and handling in mind and yet it still manages to excel at all three.
The Peugeot Paris is said to be the kind of product you only have to buy once, like a Nalgene bottle, such is the build-quality, which I am told is not true for Peugeot cars. Indeed, after a few weeks of use, it still feels like I’m breaking the Paris in. Give me 50 to 60 more years with it, and I’ll let you know my true feelings then.