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Dec 1, 2008 04:07 PM

Why does Anne Burrell not use pepper?

I really enjoy Anne's new show [as well as Alexandra Guarnaschelli's]. She always cooks things that look good and I have also made a few items she has with excellent results.
My question is, why does she never use pepper? She obviously has no problems with excessive salt, but as far as I have noticed has only used red pepper, and then only a few times. I like the flavor of black pepper, but it made me wonder if we are just trained to add it to a dish, you know, salt and pepper to taste.... Anyway, I wanted to know if anyone else had noticed this and if you as well do or do not use pepper in every dish.

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    1. re: KTinNYC

      Thanks for the link. It clears that question up. But, I still like black pepper!

      1. re: bookwormchef

        Most of us do. I would ignore her strange aversion.

        1. re: pikawicca

          It's not such a strange aversion. I don't particularly like black pepper, and if I'm cooking for myself, I don't use it.

          1. re: lisavf

            While I recognize your aversion, I still think it's strange. Most of us like the stuff.

            1. re: pikawicca

              I was wondering how big the population was you surveyed to be able to make the statement that 'most of us like the stuff'. I cannot stand pepper myself, never cook with it and have never gotten a complaint about my cooking. It would be interesting to really know how many don't like pepper...I bet the numbers would be surprising.

              1. re: sheltiepup

                If you dine out and for the most part "like" what you like pepper.Ground pepper,black, white,red,Szechuan ect is ubiquitous in most commercial kitchens.

                1. re: Duppie

                  I just now saw your response...nothing like being two years late. I do not dine out because I have no control over what goes into the food. So, I eat at home. Bottom line is, I do not like black pepper and never have.

                  1. re: Duppie

                    I like all other kinds of pepper, but not black pepper. It has a very specific taste to me that I dislike.

                    It's a food aversion of mine that I dislike the most, and have tried to "fix" at different times over the years. I'm most ok with black pepper in creamier dishes, but I still always notice it and don't really enjoy its presence. But to me disliking black pepper has nothing to do with disliking all pepper.

      2. Unlike salt, which is one of those universal human necessities, pepper usually changes the flavour of ingredients as opposed to heightening them (by giving it a bit of a kick). You'll find that some chefs like to season with pepper and some on a case-by-case basis.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Blueicus

          About the only thing I don't put pepper in is my breakfast oatmeal.

        2. Just curious - given her Italian cooking background, is there any general aversion to black pepper in Italian cooking, or is this strictly her own doing?

          4 Replies
          1. re: applehome

            According to "Lidia"...Italians prefer not to have monodimensionally spiced in generally peppery..but prefer to be "surprised" by a hit of they often use pepperoncino (red pepper flakes, that don't dissolve rendering a dish generally peppery, but hit the tongue with a little pepper explosion...!!!)

            1. re: ChowFun_derek

              Mario Batali always refers to it as "a capricious heat." Different bites will have different levels of heat depending on how many pepper flakes end up in that bite. To accentuate the effect, add the red pepper flakes close to the end of cooking so they don't get as evenly distributed throughout the dish.

              1. re: ccbweb

                "capricious heat"! That's a great, and very descriptive term......thanks for sharing it..

                1. re: ccbweb

                  Unfortunately CC has finally retired Molto Mario so I won't be able to double check this, but I don't really remember him doing much with black pepper now that I think about it. Pepper flakes and peppers, yes.

                  And of course Anne was a soux or something for Mario for a long time.

                  Maybe I'll do a no-pepper phase just to see. It would make my niece happy, as she hates anything resembling spice in her food.

            2. Interesting- I thought I was the only one. I don't put black pepper in 90% of what I make, and never in hot food. I use red and white pepper in everything, but black pepper in only chicken salad and Tuna salad.... and turkey sandwiches, and then I go crazy with the stuff. Oh, and on caesar salad. Otherwise- harumph.

              2 Replies
              1. re: caviar_and_chitlins

                Ditto on that, caviar! I thought there was something wrong with me because DO adores the stuff and I will almost always pass. When I use pepper, I much prefer white (e.g. egg salad needs the white stuff). We got one of those really neat big black pepper mills, I forget the name, and now we're both happy. He has 24/7 access to his fix, and I actually appreciate an occasional --- very occasional --- burst of fresh ground tongue-prickle. But mostly it makes me sneeze. I think maybe pasta needs it --- but I'm not wild about pasta (yep, DO adores that too). What I do want to try is Szechuan peppercorns, Fuschia Dunlop's over-the-top descriptions intrigue me -- but then again, they're not actually true peppercorns (?).

                1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                  I make an oil of Szechuan peppercorns (aka prickly ash), and I also put that on just about everything.

              2. It would be interesting to poll a group of cooking enthusiasts (like chowhouders) to see how many used pepper extensively in their food preparation. My guess is that the vast majority do use pepper. It has been my observation that those that don't use pepper (extended family is my vantage point) were taught from childhood by pepper phobic parents. I know that statement doesn't necessarily apply to those posting here, just my observations in the family.