December 4, 2007

Dustless black pepper.

65 comments:

Meade said...

Only thing I can think of worse than dusty black pepper: slivery carrot sticks.

Ron said...

Well -- I never thought I needed a term for those solutions in life that haven't got problems, but this video and DBP as a term I guess are those things!

MadisonMan said...

Wouldn't dustless black pepper simply be pepper that's not finely ground? Coarsely-ground pepper lacks the cachet of DBP.

Socks that bunch up in your shoes. That's a problem in search of a solution.

rhhardin said...

It's the Peter Piper principle.

sixty-five said...

When was it that we were first cautioned by cookbook writers to insist on FRESH GROUND black pepper, as compared to the ready-to-shake kind - the seventies? Sixties? I thought the "fear" was that the pre-ground type might somehow be factory-contaminated with foreign objects - non-pepper elements (dust?). So now the distributor of these little packets wants to reassure us that they started with pure unadulterated whole peppercorns and ground them up - no dust! That's my take on it. Still, your use of the term is a good one.

Chip Ahoy said...
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Chip Ahoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

I accept your term "dustless black pepper" to refer to a solution to a dreamed-up problem. How is this phrase to be used in a sentence? Can it be abbreviated by referring to something's dustlessness or to something's black pepperiness? Will "that is so DBP" be recognized?

Wouldn't want it abused. I've seen jump the shark used as if the writer didn't quite get the intended meaning.

Eli Blake said...

Meade:

I can think of something worse than that:

winning something you worked your whole life to achieve, and then being told the next day you really lost.

Yup. The WRONG WOMAN named winner of the Miss California pageant. Can you imagine what it would be like to have it announced publically that you won, get your picture in all the papers, call all your friends and family (in fact probably not because they are all there supporting you) and then the next day somebody calls you and says, 'oops, we take it back.'

This really rankles me too:

In a news release, Silva said she felt pressured to step down.

"They never could explain their accounting error, but told me that if I didn't give up my crown to Miss Barstow, my personal integrity could be questioned, and my career could potentially suffer," she said.


So yes, Meade. There IS something worse than silvery carrot sticks.

Ron said...

I recall reading that the diameter of the holes in the top of most people's pepper shakers usually did not match the fineness of the grind of pepper that they had. Thus, you either got too much pepper per shake, or not enough! This doesn't even cover the dust issue!

Ann Althouse said...

silvery carrot sticks? talk about a nonproblem.

Used in a sentence: That's dustless black pepper. (After someone proposes something.)

bill said...

When was it that we were first cautioned by cookbook writers to insist on FRESH GROUND black pepper, as compared to the ready-to-shake kind - the seventies? Sixties? I thought the "fear" was that the pre-ground type might somehow be factory-contaminated with foreign objects - non-pepper elements (dust?).

The reason you should use fresh ground pepper is that as soon as spices are ground they begin to lose potency and flavor. Who knows how old all those bottles of ground spices are in the supermarket? Keep a few extra grinders around, along with a mortar and pestle, and grind spices as you need them.

Toasting them just before use also improves their flavor.

Simon said...

Well, I'm at a panel discussion on proposed changes to the Federal Rules, and some of them do seem to be solutions to problems that no one has. ;)

Hazy Dave said...

Toasting: "Here's to you, little dustless black peppercorn!" (Slurp.)

StephenB said...

Heading out the door to take my very first law school exam---CONTRACTS!!! And this little video has provided me just the little bit of relaxation I was looking for to calm me down before I explode.

Hazy Dave said...

(I guess my Flash version isn't advanced enough to show this video, so I'm posting without knowing quite what I'm talking about, a craft now being brought to high art two posts below.) I don't mind slivery carrot sticks as long as they're not embedded in Jell-O™ brand gelatin, but I don't think I've ever seen silvery carrot sticks. Are you sure they're carrots?

Simon said...

Stephen, good luck!

Ann Althouse said...

Stephen, glad I can help. Good luck.

Ann Althouse said...

bill: "Toasting them just before use also improves their flavor."

hazy dave: "Toasting: "Here's to you, little dustless black peppercorn!" (Slurp.)"

LOL.

ricpic said...

You could say - no, I say - that socialism is the solution to "the problem" of human nature.

Ron said...

"Socialism is the dustless black pepper of economic theory."

cobaltbob said...

I'm not sure what's more sad. Is it that someone felt compelled to vlog about black pepper, or that 20 or so individuals before me felt it worthy of comment?

Lives. Get. Us.

blogging cockroach said...

dustless black pepper is brought to you by the same control freaks
who want to keep ===me=== li'l ol' ===me===
out of your chocolate
it's unfair i tell you
control freaks everywhere

of course i wouldn't be caught dead in a box of pepper
ground or unground 'cause i'd be underground
faster than you could say achoo
pure poison that stuff is for a cockroach
i'm getting itchy and going to sneeze
just thinking about it
and don't you get any ideas
about scattering it under the fridge

Original Mike said...

Bill said: "The reason you should use fresh ground pepper is that as soon as spices are ground they begin to lose potency and flavor."

I've never understood why this is a problem. Why can't you compensate by using more of it?

reader_iam said...

cobaltbob: Don't take life so seriously. You're not getting out of it alive, anyway.

What are you doing commenting, by the way? Don't you have something important you could have been doing instead?

bill said...

Here's a mystery -- we keep getting novelty salt and pepper shakers as gifts. Usually from the in-laws for Christmas, but not always. The thing is, there is no one who has ever eaten at our house who has ever seen salt and pepper shakers on our dining room table. The food is seasoned properly before it is served, so additional shaking is not required and would be frowned upon if requested.

So do these salt and pepper shaker givers persist because:

a) they think we don't have any and they've forgotten about the other 5 pair they've gifted us.

b) too cheap to buy us a real gift.

c) don't like the food and are too scared to tell us.


** a proper pepper toast: May your nose always be too small to hold all your sneezes.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

d) are yanking your chain

reader_iam said...

Why can't you compensate by using more of it?

The food gets too dusty.

Ann Althouse said...

Hey, I got the cockroach to come back. Very nice.

oh, cobaltbob seems depressed. Maybe it would cheer him up to think of the pepper as symbolizing.... oh, I don't know... solutions for nonexistent problems?

bill said...

I've never understood why this is a problem. Why can't you compensate by using more of it?

Because it isn't a math equation. What if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of ground pepper? 1T of old pepper + 1T of old pepper does not equal 1T of freshly ground pepper. It doesn't even equal 2T of freshly ground pepper. It's just twice the amount of weakened pepper.

Depending on what you're doing and being able to season as you cook, you can often get away with it and it isn't a problem. But the truth is, most preground spices have less flavor than if you're able to grind at time of use. I don't grind all my spices and if you don't want to grind yours, that's fine. Let's not pretend there isn't a difference, though.

bill said...

reader_iam has the correct shorter version.

Beth said...

When I was a child I was either not very bright or really invested in the scientific method. Within one year, I drank ink (yes, it came in bottles), decided to see if the iron was hot by placing my hand on it, and wondered "what does pepper smell like?" I can appreciate "dustless pepper."

JackDRipper said...

Here's a clip of two "brainless White peppers" going at it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XU4jpnJWFY

"Mailer married his second wife, Adele Morales, in 1954. In 1960, Mailer stabbed her with a penknife at a party."

Pogo said...

Beth: Mmmmmm ....ink.


Ruth Anne Adams: Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska" !!
heya, one of my favorite shoe gazing albums, good for that sweet mealnacholy of college midnights, post break-up, pre-break-up, or even just contemplating a break-up. And the Tom Joady parts were dead on my parents.

Best part:
"Now, my ma, she fingers her wedding band
And watches the salesman stare at my old man's hands
He's tellin' us all 'bout the break he'd give us if he could, but he just can't
Well if I could, I swear I know just what I'd do

Now, mister, the day the lottery I win I ain't ever gonna ride in no used car again"

JackDRipper said...

Ann Althouse

dustless

looking

restless

wondering

black

looking

pepper

Johnny Winter

bill said...

For the last of my pepper knowledge, I've met a few chefs who use a seasoning blend of 6 parts kosher salt to one part white pepper. Unless there's a specific need for black pepper they prefer the white because it doesn't leave black specks on the food.

knoxwhirled said...

Talk about solutions in search of a problem: The 10 Most Ridiculous Inventions Ever Patented

http://www.cracked.com/article_15693_10-most-ridiculous-inventions-ever-patented.html

the commentary is hilarious

Palladian said...

Pepper is dust, just coarse dust.

Palladian said...

How dare you flaunt all those beautiful, empty shelves when there are those of us with stacks of books everywhere and no more room or money for more shelves!

rrubel said...

Whenever I shake pepper on my food, I sneeze, and I sneeze, because there is a lot of dust in prepared pepper. I would love to have prepared DUSTLESS pepper.I am sure that is one of the reason they package it that way.

Pogo said...

A dustless person would be immortal.

blogging cockroach said...

oh ruth anne
i hoped we wouldn't go there
i was afraid when i mentioned
scattering under the fridge
someone would bring up sterner stuff

it may look like kosher salt
but you don't want to put the b-word on your matzos
and you sure as hell don't want to put any
where your friendly household cockroach
could step in it either....shudder....
i'd rather be a jewish cockroach
eating matzo crumbs
than a dead one thinking i walked thru some salt

but back to useless pepper--
the control freak who invented this stuff
was trying to save you from the heartbreak
of sneezing in restaurants
just think
you're having lunch with the boss
and you get a snootful of dust from the pepper
you just put on your soup
and achoooey
clam chowder all over his harvard tie
no one wants that do they...

rcocean said...

Kosher salt.

Why not Kosher White sugar?

Joan said...

A bit late to the party, bill & reader, but consider:

e) hinting that you don't know how to set a proper table

Ann Althouse said...

Palladian said..."How dare you flaunt all those beautiful, empty shelves when there are those of us with stacks of books everywhere and no more room or money for more shelves!"

Palladian, you can store your books on my shelves... but only until May 2008. Those shelves are silent testimony to my rootlessness here in Brooklyn. Almost all my books are back in Madison. There are way more shelves in the office than you can see in this clip, and there are also lots of shelves in my apartment. Should I have shipped my books? Which ones? Actually, you have a great collection of books — we have similar taste in reading, so I'd be happy with your books on my shelves.

Pogo said..."A dustless person would be immortal."

Pepper to pepper. Dust to dust.

Pogo said...

"so additional shaking is not required and would be frowned upon if requested"

Bill, I'm with Joan here.

A host is meant to make their guests happy, not the other way around. You insist they eat the food you prepared exactly so, without adjustments for personal taste or you will frown at them?
Sheesh.

The repeated gifts of salt-and-pepper shakers are a plea for help.

Ah, salt it - salt it good
Ah, salt it - salt it real good
Ah, dust it - dust it good
Ah, dust it - p-pepper it real good

Salt n' Pepa

Palladian said...

"Should I have shipped my books? Which ones? Actually, you have a great collection of books — we have similar taste in reading, so I'd be happy with your books on my shelves."

No, shipping books is the worst! Thanks for your storage offer but I like to have my books close at hand– even if I haven't opened this book or that for years, you never know when you'll need it.

Some people are perplexed by my books. I own almost no fiction (I never liked reading fiction, have no time for it), lots of poetry, history, technical books, and many, many art books. I must confess that I own no law books, unless you count the Bible (of which I have 5) and a book of 17th Century Connecticut Blue Laws.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dbp said...

At some point the pepper busness may have been very cut-throat. One company sought to differentiate its product from the other offerings. But how? Aha! Eureka! We will pass our ground pepper over a very fine mesh to allow the dust to fall through, then use other meshes to offer coarse, medium and fine grinds.

All speculation and all long ago most likely. I really did feel as if I should comment.

Signed (this time only)
David

Meade said...

Dang. there goes my clumberdar again.
-------------
"A dustless person would be immortal."

In addition, ground up and packed into a glass jar he'd also have more visual appeal than a dusty old ground up mortal would.
-------------
Ron'll know this one:

I'm gonna get up in the mornin',
I believe I'll dust my carrot stick
Girlfriend, the black man you been lovin',
girlfriend, can get my room

I'm gon' write a letter,
Telephone every town I know
If I can't find her in West Helena,
She must be in East Monroe, I know

I don't want no woman,
Wants every downtown man she meet
She's a no good doney,
They shouldn't 'low her on the street

I believe, I believe I'll go back home
You can mistreat me here, babe,
But you can't when I go home

And I'm gettin' up in the morning,
I believe I'll dust my carrot stick
(my silvery carrot stick)
Girlfriend, the black pepper that you been grindin',
Girlfriend, can get my room

I'm gon' call up Chiney,
She is my good girl over there
If I can't find her on Philippine's Island,
She must be in Ethiopia somewhere


-Robert Johnson

bill said...

A host is meant to make their guests happy, not the other way around. You insist they eat the food you prepared exactly so, without adjustments for personal taste or you will frown at them?

Adding salt and pepper to the food in front of the host is insulting. It's my food, cooked the way I decided it should be prepared, and it's not like I ask them for their order. If they don't want it, they don't have to come over.

But don't worry, Pogo and Joan, you're both on the list of people never to be invited over (it's a very big list). Or by chance you do show up, it's a strawberry frosted pop-tart, unheated.

Palladian said...

Pepper should be ground moments before consumption or use in cooking.

Madmax333 said...

Let's not wimp out. Try Dr. Schultz's radical, politically incorrect cayenne pepper....organic habanero peppers, california jalapeno peppers, african bird peppers, chinese bird peppers, korean aji peppers, japanese peppers and thai red peppers. Dude warns you to wash your hands after handling and warns it can be as hot coming out as going in. ....if you have a medical condition consult your physician, psychiatrist or fire department before using. I've used it in cooking in tiny portions. 275,000 Heat Units! www.herbdoc.com Good luck if you have the nerve.
Tried that cooking guru Nigella's hot shrimp soup and merely used store bought Jalapenos and it was way too torrid.

Joan said...

No worries, bill. My schedule is so full, I couldn't possibly dine with you. Ever.

Trooper York said...

Linda (to Shaft):You're really great in the sack, but you're
pretty shitty afterwards, you know that?
Shaft: Hey, baby, please close the door, huh?
Linda: Hey... close it yourself, shitty. You ain’t nothin but dusty black pepper. (mumbles as she leaves)
Shaft: Waddaya mean I got a dusty black pecker?
(Shaft, 1971)

bill said...

Joan, you can't send your regrets after being disinvited. It's like trying to quit after you've been fired.

jeff said...

"it's a strawberry frosted pop-tart, unheated."


mmmmm. pop-tarts. Can I get mine with a bit extra pepper?

Joan said...

Who said anything about regrets?

bill said...

Jeff, of course. Pepper enhances the strawberry flavor. Cook up some strawberries with balsamic vinegar and a few turns of black pepper and that's some good stuff.

reader_iam said...

Hot pepper--not to be confused with black pepper, of course--extract (indiscrimately and profligately applied) once put my fire-eating husband in the emergency room in Key West. The miracle of percocet and the then-availability of airline seating that included space in the package allowed us to get him home, from where he could more comfortably receive treatment.

Damn, what an experience.

ZPS said...

Would sending troops to die in Iraq be considered dustless black pepper?

I think the gay marriage amendment is dustless black pepper as well.

And if you really think about it, dustless black pepper is in and of itself dustless black pepper.

Either way...brilliant post.

Pogo said...

Bill said "Or by chance you do show up, it's a strawberry frosted pop-tart, unheated."
Make it frosted cinnamon, and you're on.
When's eats?

Do we all have to frown, or is that just you?
Do you frown continuously, or just on exposure to guests who dare to use seasoning?
Or does your frown erupt and fade like Joe Biden's fake smile?
Do you also serve your guests your favorite drink and expect them to like it or lump it?
Do you frown when guests add sugar and cream to their er, your coffee?

Simon said...

Palladian said...
"Some people are perplexed by my books. I own almost no fiction (I never liked reading fiction, have no time for it), lots of poetry, history, technical books, and many, many art books."

I like fiction, but alas, there's never the time to read it any more.

"I own no law books, unless you count ... a book of 17th Century Connecticut Blue Laws."

I have an antebellum printing of Blackstone that is wonderful to have, but utterly useless if one actually wants to look something up. I really ought to buy a more recent

former law student said...

to whoever asked: the 70's saw the advent of the "would you like fresh ground pepper" salad mantra. Restaurants competed to see who could have the bigger wooden peppermill; they topped out at bazooka-size, almost but not quite needing two waiters to operate.

The bazooka mill made its appearance only at salad time, for other courses you were forced to use the dusty pepper in the shaker.

Also, kosher salt is for koshering meat, i.e. drawing the impermissible blood out of a kosher-killed animal.

But the DBP that sticks in my mind are the innumerable inventions that allow nervous gentlemen to raise the (germ-ridden) seat of a public toilet without use of their hands. They have escaped people's attention because none have ever been commercialized.