Round and Round

"nutmeg grinder

I know very little about this piece, other than the fact it has a paten mark from Sept. 3,  1867. If I were a cook 140+ years ago I would have been charmed to own this nutmeg grater. Truth be told I’ve been charmed to have owned this great tool for the last twenty years.

Nutmeg trees actually produce two spices – nutmeg and mace. Mace isn’t a spice I use very often but there is a great sounding vegetable soup recipe at Béatrice Peltre’s blog which calls for it. While mace isn’t a frequently used spice, nutmeg is one that I often reach for. I used to buy pre-ground nutmeg in a jar, which has a deliciously powerful scent that wafts up to you the moment the jar is opened. The problem is once the jar has been opened the scent and some of the flavor fade. Which is why I’m a proponent of grating your own nutmeg. It’s fun to take a look at the variety of nutmeg grinders pictured on the internet.

"Nutmeg and Mace"

Illustration of nutmeg and mace from Alan Davidson's The Oxford Companion to Food

Grating nutmeg is incredibly satisfying. Whether it’s the zing I add to a bowl of creamy steamy mashed potatoes (a great tip from Alan Pirie), a whisper of nutmeg on top of  a cold glass of eggnog and rum, or that titillating taste that will have people wondering what did you put into that peach blueberry cobbler–this is the tool you need.

If you’re lucky enough to own a grater like this you’ll also need another handy kitchen tool – a toothpick. The punched holes need to be cleaned out every so often as bits of the grated nutmeg tend to plug them up.

"back of nutmeg grater"

3 Comments

Filed under Favorite Tools

3 responses to “Round and Round

  1. Marisa

    Ceil – a toothbrush is a handy kitchen tool for cleaning fine graters. Also you say Nutmeg and immediately I think of bechemel sauce for the Quiche and Croque Monsieur from L’Adour….Mace and Nutmeg are lovely additions to cinnamon sugar (for buttered toast). YUM!

  2. Alli

    A few grinds of Nutmeg is a must when I make Tomato Soup, & my very creamy Bolognese.

  3. Nutmeg is the “secret” ingredient to making the best spaghetti sauce (tomato based)…and I have recently become obsessed with cute little vintage nutmeg grinders. I believe they are really tiny time machines in disguise….

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