Thursday, September 21, 2006

Fresh Ground Pepper?

The pepper-guy at the restaurant has always made me uncomfortable.

I think it's a guy-thing. I wouldn't feel right, say, letting a guy change my windshield wiper blades because, as a guy, I should be able to do it myself. I'm also fully capable of operating a pepper mill and administering my own pepper.

Since when did fresh-ground pepper become a sacrament anyway? The moment your salad is served, the pepper liturgy begins. There he is, all smiles, with his pepper mill cocked and ready to festoon your salad with this super-special spice. "Fresh ground pepper?" Everyone becomes silent. He grinds and grinds until you hold up your hand indicating for him to stop and then he moves on to the next guest.

And it's always a guy. I can't recall ever being serviced by a pepper-girl. And who are these guys anyway?? Do they go to school for that? What kind of training is involved? How do they "move up" in the business? Are there parents who, when asked what their son does for a living, actually reply, "You know the guy that serves fresh-ground pepper in the restaurant? That's what my son does!"

Another thing I've noticed: You can always tell how fancy the restaurant is by the size of the pepper mill. If your sitting there and a pepper mill the size of a baseball bat appears over your shoulder, you'd better have a good credit line available.

I like fresh-ground pepper but I don't like pepper mills. You can never get enough pepper out of them.
gritch-gritch-gritch gritch-gritch-gritch.

Pause. Hmmm, not enough.
gritch-gritch-gritch gritch-gritch-gritch

At home, I grind little batches of it up in a coffee grinder and that way I can dump on as much as I like. But in a restaurant, the pepper-guy always says, "Say when," and begins grinding:
gritch-gritch-gritch gritch-gritch-gritch.

And I'm thinking, "Get comfortable, pepper-boy! You're gonna be here for a while."

Another thing: What if I want fresh ground pepper later in the meal on something other than my salad? Like a baby lamb chop. You're pretty much outta luck. Once the pepper-guy transubstantiates your salad, you never see him anywhere. Fresh-ground pepper, it seems, is a one-shot opportunity. You'd think that the restaurant could afford more of it and not have to ration it out like that.

The next time I'm in a fresh-ground-pepper-type-of-restaurant, I'm just going to ask the pepper-guy to simply leave the mill at the table and leave me alone. How does that sound?


At 1:51 PM , Blogger Lorraine said...

The Spouse has always wanted to have a big pepper grinder so that he can do the pepper boy thing at dinner parties. I've suggested that people might make assumptions about other things if he brandishes too large a grinder. If you know what I mean.

At 3:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for the pepper boys. They're probably lowest on the restaurant totem pole. They're probably supposed to sit in a corner until it's time for somebody to have their pepper. And then they have to go back to their corner, and they don't even get to keep tips.

We should have a telethon for them.

At 5:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm seeing you in like, a half an hour. Just for you, I'll be sure to request some fresh-ground pepper on my salad tonight! *hee hee*


Haggy Miss Hag :)


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