The little things in life should be a pleasure, don’t you think? Life doesn’t get much more basic than salt and pepper. No one needs much convincing that fresh ground tastes a whole lot better than the banal alternative from a box. If you’re going the fresh ground route, you can’t do better than pepper and salt mills from Peugeot.
Over 200 years ago, in 1810, Pierre and Jean-Frédéric Peugeot decided that the family flour mill in Hérimoncourt, France should be converted into a steel mill. They produced all manner of metal items, from crinoline hoops to clock works. Peugeot’s first grinding mechanisms were created in 1842 and the first pepper mills emerged in 1874 and they’re still made according to the same high standard. The gears are designed to line up the corns and crack them before they are ground to one of six degrees of fineness. They have expanded the line to include salt, spice, and coffee mills, all created with precision.
Although better known as a car manufacturer, Peugeot didn’t create their first automobile until 1891. Today, while both the car and mill companies bear the family name and share the lion symbol, they are totally separate.
Today’s expression, au four et au moulin (owe foor ay owe moolahn) means “at the stove and at the mill.” It’s used to express the idea that you can’t be two places at once – just as one family company couldn’t continue to make such wildly diverse products as cars and pepper mills.