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)