This is Highly Recommend, a column dedicated to what food people are eating, drinking, and buying right now. Here, contributor Taylor Feezor writes about the electric salt and pepper grinder set that’s saving her mom’s hands.
From ballet buns to beach waves, breakup bangs to corporate bobs, my mother’s hands have transformed my hair through some of life’s most pivotal chapters. They move in orchestration—brush, section, clip, segment, comb, snip—until I emerge as the person I wish to be in this world (…or at least looking like the person I wish to be). But after 43 years as a hairstylist, she’s received a dual diagnosis of carpal tunnel and trigger finger in her right hand. “The doctor says my two injuries go hand in hand, Taylor,” my mother says, making light of her pain. “My thumb won’t bend. It throbs throughout the day.”
As if doing hair wasn’t asking enough of her hands, my mom also cooks. I’ve witnessed her struggle stirring a batch of bourbon sugar fudge, fumble draining a party portion of boiling pasta, and, in silent hysterics, unable to dislodge a cork from a favorite Brut Cuvée. So she’s steadily accumulated a cast of kitchen tools that prioritize functionality and accessibility: a jar opener, an automatic wine opener, and her all-time favorites, Trudeau’s electric rechargeable salt and pepper grinders.
I was floored the first time I saw the grinders in action. They are gravity grinders, which means, when flipped on their heads, the black peppercorns or crystals of sea salt drop automatically from their acrylic chambers through the ceramic grinders and onto your food—no cranking or shaking or even the touch of a button required. With a breezy flip of the wrist, my mom turned the mill upside down and it dutifully responded with a whirring sound emanating from its barrel. Freshly ground coarse salt cascaded out on its own, dusting that evening’s lamb shanks for shepherd’s pie. No extra help, no wincing, just a wink thrown in my direction as she swept through the one-handed operation.
You can purchase just the gravity electric salt grinder or get it as a set together with the electric pepper mill. Both come pre-filled. Trudeau also makes less-expensive AAA-battery-powered spice mills, but my mom never has to root around in her kitchen drawers for spare Duracells. Instead, the grinding mechanism in her mills recharges via USB (which we already know I’m into).
With her stainless steel salt and pepper mill set, my mom avoids the joint aggravation brought on by manual spice grinders or shakers. As she builds out her mobility-friendly lineup of cookware and gadgets for her kitchen and dining room, she’s also testing out this lightweight cast-iron skillet and this Cuisinart electric can opener—each giving her a new chance to be happy, healthy, and as pain-free in her hands as possible. And unlike the perms, ombrés, and middle parts that come and go, that’s something that will never go out of style.