MÄNNKITCHEN Pepper Cannon Review — A Great Kitchen Product Built On An Amazing Life Lesson

by | Nov 13, 2023


[Where The Food Comes From receives no fees or commissions for the products we feature. They are solely selected and independently reviewed at the discretion of our editorial board]

Where The Food Comes From got it’s hands on a top-quality kitchen tool with a neat origin story. A story not about the pepper mill initially instead about lessons learned in the inventor’s life leading to the invention of MÄNNKITCHEN Pepper Cannon.

First, let’s talk Pepper Cannon.

MÄNNKITCHEN Pepper Cannon on counter top.

It took only 786 days, 11 prototypes, 54 revisions, 82 tests, and 4,673 sneezes for MÄNNKITCHEN Pepper Cannon to be ready.

Man using MÄNNKITCHEN pepper grinder.

There is nothing manly or womanly about this pepper grinder, it’s just an awesome mill! Inventor Cleve Oins, whose lineage is Norwegian, explains MÄNNKITCHEN is a name derived from old Norse. The possessive pronoun prefix “Männ” translates to my or mine. In this case, “my kitchen”.

The cannon is high-quality, made with built-to-last aerospace grade aluminum which is then anodized black making it extra durable and easy to clean. The guts of this cannon are crazy impressive too. Equipped with a double-bearing drive shaft and high-carbon stainless steel burrs, amateur and professional chefs have significant control between a course and fine grind and can expect 10x the output of a standard mill with every crank!

Plus, pre-grind up to a third of a cup of pepper in the base for sanitary one-hand peppering!

Check out this close up look at MÄNNKITCHEN!

MÄNNKITCHEN was invented with the idea of making things better in the kitchen. Oines describes this to be a worthy goal, and one way to achieve it is simply to make BETTER things. But what led to this concept? Click below to meet Cleve Oines, the man behind the mill.

The Man Behind The Mill

Inventor Cleve Oines starts this story making it very clear his mom is an excellent cook, it’s just the oatmeal he didn’t like, describing his perception of taste to be “a bland, viscous substance with a texture somewhere between mud and glue.” Cleve describes doing what he could to doctor it with no avail, and at age 8, he put his foot down and proclaimed he would eat oatmeal no more.

Side-by-Side image: Left: MÄNNKITCHEN inventor Cleve Oines as a baby in his mother's arms, both smilin big. Right: Same image just as an adult.

Well, the oatmeal kept coming and eventually Cleve started skipping breakfast. His mother seized this opportunity and did what EVERY parent should do, started teaching him accountability and self-reliance. Cleve, remember only age 8, was taught to light a propane stove WITH matches and was allowed free range over the pantry, spices, and anything else needed.

“Soon I was creating dishes far less palatable than oatmeal and eating them anyway. Over time my creations graduated to “barely offensive”, and eventually included things that people other than myself might consume voluntarily.”

Barely offensive to voluntary consumption; I love this critique, well said Cleve.

Quick jump to age 16, Cleve is now working for the first time professionally in commercial fishing, which as many of you know, commercial fishermen are often at sea for extended periods of time. Luckily, the captain noticed Cleve’s interest in cooking and dinner became his responsibility. Leaving the cold and often wet and rainy deck was an obvious bonus, but Cleve is especially grateful because cooking ONLY with fish engaged creativity and challenged him to keep meals varied, and he felt encouraged by little complaints and leftovers from the crew. For several more years and through school Cleve continued refine his skills. After graduation, he moved on to an office job, but never left the kitchen.

“Cooking is work, but it doesn’t have to feel like work. It’s a creative act that meets a practical need. To me it’s the nearest thing we have to alchemy-transforming a mix of ordinary ingredients into something that sustains life and has the power to bring people together. There’s little in life that I enjoy more than preparing a meal and sharing it.”

Another quick jump, its September 2017, Cleve lost a job he had been at since 2002 and first worked with the owners in 1999. He explains this being particularly difficult having helped build it over the years, being close to the owners, and this was his primary means of income. However, “victim” appears to have never crossed his mind. In a Quora.com interview, Cleve was asked to “Describe a time that your company only discovered that you were irreplaceable after they fired you. How did you feel? What did they do?” I love his response and recommend reading it in entirety; one line really stood out to me:

“The truth is that I bear some responsibility for being let go. After all, there would have been money to keep me If I’d been better at my job.”

Seems like a valuable lesson on accountability WAS learned many years ago in front of an old propane stove, I digress.

Cleve’s longtime job turned out to be the last working for someone else. The unwavering confidence and support from his wife led Cleve to end interviewing and start his own business. Navigating start-up debt and generating sales proved rough but for the first time in a long while LOVING work was again part of Cleve’s equation.

MÄNNKITCHEN was invented with the idea of making things better in the kitchen. Cleve describes this to be a worthy goal, and one way to achieve it is simply to make BETTER things.