Recently, I received a sample of an innovative salt and pepper mill.

The Home Toolz “Handy” Pepper & Salt Mill is made of finely finished wood, shaped like a human hand and looking a little like an artist’s model, with finely articulated finger and thumb joints.

You can get these mills in right- or left-hand versions. The hand and base sections separate so you can fill it with salt or pepper (or, I suppose, any other grind-able spice you frequently use).

Of course, the first thing my family did was arrange the fingers to point skyward, make the “okay” sign, and arrange the fingers in the headbanger’s index-pinky Sign of the Horn salute. It’s the kind of kitchen aid you might expect to see in Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

Salt and pepper shakers are usually just functional dispensers; the “Handy” mill is quirky and fun. There are so many blandly functional items around the house that would benefit from a little imagination and design, and a touch of whimsy is always welcome at our table.

No one who comes into our kitchen fails to comment upon our mill.

Locally, you can purchase these mills at the Spice House:

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David Hammond

David Hammond, a corporate communications consultant and food journalist living in Oak Park, Illinois, is a founder and moderator of, the 8,500 member Chicago-based culinary chat site. David...

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