This is Highly Recommend, a column dedicated to what people in the food industry are obsessed with eating, drinking, and buying right now.
“The doctor says my two injuries go hand in hand, Taylor.” My mother, who has been a hairstylist for 43 years, is making light of her right hand’s diagnoses of carpal tunnel and trigger finger. “My thumb won’t bend. It throbs throughout the day.” From ballet buns to beach waves, break up bangs to corporate bobs, my mother’s hands have transformed my hair through some of life’s most pivotal chapters. They move in orchestration—brush, section, clip, segment, comb, snip—until I emerge as the person I wish to be in this world (…or at least looking like the person I wish to be). But now she is here, telling me that it hurts.
As if doing hair wasn’t asking enough of her hands, my mom also cooks. I’ve witnessed her struggle stirring a batch of bourbon sugar fudge, fumble draining a party portion of boiling pasta, and, in silent hysterics, unable to dislodge a cork from a favorite Brut Cuvée. So a cast of accessibility tools has steadily accumulated in the kitchen: a jar opener, an automatic wine opener, and her all-time favorites—Trudeau’s electric, rechargeable salt and pepper grinders.
I was floored the first time I saw the grinders in action. They’re gravity grinders, which means, when flipped on their heads, they dole out seasoning automatically—no cranking or shaking required. With a breezy flip of the wrist, my mom turned the mill upside down, and it dutifully responded with a sound like a very small engine emanating from its barrel. Freshly ground salt cascaded out on its own, dusting that evening’s lamb shanks for shepherd’s pie. No extra help, no wincing, just a wink thrown in my direction. “You should write about these, Tays.” I noted their USB ports that lend to an environmentally friendly recharge, which we already know I’m into.
By using the grinders, my mom avoids joint aggravation brought on by the rigorous yet necessary endeavor of grinding fresh pepper, transforming a former pain point into dazzling kitchen performance art. As she builds out her mobility-friendly lineup, she’s also testing out accessible appliances like this electric can opener or lightweight cast iron skillet in her kitchen—each one giving her a new chance to be happy, healthy, and as pain-free in her hands as possible. And, unlike the perms, ombrés, and middle parts that come and go, that’s something that will never go out of style.