Nutmeg is much in demand this time of year, and we're cooking with it a lot. Emma is going to tell you all about this spice tomorrow morning, including its origins and some of the dishes it's commonly used in. I, on the other hand, am going to tell you all about this shameless unitasker of a mill that I'm yearning over. It's all France's fault.
When I was in France last week I noticed this sturdy little mill in a shop window. I was captivated; I use massive amounts of nutmeg and really don't like the powdered stuff. I usually grind it fresh in an electric spice grinder or grate it with a Microplane. This mill, though, was so industrial-looking - so determined to just one use. It was also just the right size for the palm of a hand - orb-round and gleaming.
It was about 50 euros and I didn't want to plunk my money down right then so I went away with a little yearning in my heart and not-so-casual Christmas hint to my husband.
Yes, this is a unitasker. Yes, this is made just for nutmeg, which is a spice many of us use rarely. We dole out half teaspoons a couple times of year for Christmas cookies or sweet bread.
But in other cuisines nutmeg is used with much greater regularity. A pasta dish isn't complete without a sprinkling of fresh-grated nutmeg. It goes in creamy gratins and squash dishes. This is more how I tend to use nutmeg as well; its musky flavor enhances many dishes. It's the spice equivalent of Parmesan for me - and how many of us have graters devoted just to Parmesan and other hard cheeses?
This grater wouldn't make sense for all of us, but I am quite unashamed to say that I want one. Badly.
• Buy the Peugeot nutmeg mill: Peugeot "Tidore" Nutmeg Mill, $39.99 at Broadway Panhandler.
What do you use for grating nutmeg?
(Image: John Lewis)