Ahh, to live in Maine. The quiet forest, the dewey mist-filled mornings. A cabin, tucked behind trees untouched in years.
I have no idea what I’m talking about, the last time I was in Maine, I was 3. But, my Zizi Bev and Uncle Mac (Zizi is the unisex Italian nickname for Great Aunt/Uncle, or so I’ve been led to believe by my family) have a cabin up there, in addition to normally living in the constantly overcast Syracuse, NY. My mom is jonesin’ to move up there eventually, maybe to retire. I will say, those Mainesians… Mainites… the people up in Maine, make a mean Porter and if I could eat lobster a quarter as much as I think I can, I’m with ya on that one Ma.
Being in an Italian family means everyone knows all the rumors and talk about the family at pretty much any given time. With almost certainty, Zizi Marge knows who I’m dating or what I want to do with my life, despite not talking to her personally in probably 4 years (I know, I’m a horrible kid). The beauty of grandmothers and Zizis. Anyway, so Zizi Bev and Uncle Mac heard I was enjoying cooking lately, and quite thoughtfully sent me the greatest salt and pepper mill set I’ve ever held. My mom has a pair as well, and I’ve always marveled at their precision and durability.
I give you, the Federal line from Vic Firth. It just so happens, the factory is down the road from my Zizi’s place up in Maine, and Uncle Mac just ran down there in person to pick this gem up for me.
From their website, “Vic Firth mills, shakers and rolling pins are thoughtfully designed, meticulously crafted tools built to deliver a lifetime of service to both professional and home chefs.” They come with a lifetime warranty, and are handcrafted at the factory in Maine. Vic Firth, as the company history points out, used to play with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, went into drumstick manufacturing, and has slid into the world of gourmet wooden kitchen gadgetry. Awesome.
Apparently Mario Batali has a signature line, and of course you can also get other styles, even laser engravings. They go for 40 bucks a pop, but I’m grinding my peppercorns in style now, guaranteed for the rest of my life. That’s a pretty awesome feeling.