Pepper is one of the most common spices in all the world. It's been in uses for thousands of years. But many Americans don't get to experience it's true power, because they buy ground pepper. That is why I think every American kitchen need to trade in their pepper shaker for a pepper mill. Whole peppercorns that you crack yourself will provide you will flavor that is far beyond what you get out of a container of pre-ground stuff. The reason is when pepper is ground, oils are released that in time will dissipate, leaving you with a less desirable product.
When shopping for a pepper mill there is a couple things you need to look for. You want it to be easy to put pepper in. It shouldn't take you a half hour to load the thing up. Next, you want to be able to grind the pepper without too much force. If you have to do all the work for the pepper mill, then you need to be looking for a different one. Lastly, you need to have one with an adjustable setting, so that you can get coarse, medium, and fine grinds.
Alton Brown of Good Eats fame recommends the Unicorn Magnum Pepper Mill. It does everything you need, plus it does it fast and holds a lot of pepper. What I don't recommend is an electric model. They just don't work well. If you have a good non-electric model, your not going to tire yourself out from grinding.
Let pepper be the "King of Spices" in your kitchen with your own pepper mill. It's an investment in flavor.
To read my post on peppercorns, click here.