There was a time, not so long ago, when certain louche men of café society rather naughtily referred to a pepper mill as a "Rubirosa." I'm not going to explain exactly why, Dear Reader, but if you're curious to know the reason, it's easy enough to find out why by doing only a modest amount of Internet searching . . .
But that's not the subject of today's post. No, today's post is about the pepper and salt containers that we use at Darlington House. Not quite so thrilling a subject, perhaps, but certainly a more appropriate one for this blog and for its readership.
When we first bought Darlington House and began to entertain in earnest, we used at table the silver pepper shakers that I grew up with, a wedding gift to my mother, MD. They are in the shape of miniature eighteenth-century silver sugar casters, and they hold finely pre-ground pepper. I paired them with an early set of Sheffield salts that I found on eBay.
Over time, though, I traded MD's silver pepper shakers for silver-banded ebony pepper grinders that I found at Scully & Scully on Park Avenue. We pair them with unmatched Regency cut-glass salts. This is what we use at table today at Darlington House.
In our kitchen, though, we use more humble vessels for salt and pepper. When cooking, we use a latch-grinding pepper mill, and we have several earthenware salt containers to dig in to for pinches.
We keep white pepper in this white metal grinder:
At our kitchen table we use the Peugeot grinder shown at the outset of this post, along with a heavy glass salt cellar. They are both very satisfying to use.
Interestingly, we haven't a single salt shaker at Darlington House. We only use salt cellars, the subject of a subsequent post, Dear Reader.
Tell me, do you administer your pepper from a grinder or a shaker?
Photographs by Boy Fenwick