Monday, December 5, 2011

Mortar and What?

When we were visiting Indonesia, it became very apparent 
that chefs/every-day cooks used a mortar and pestle.
Thus started my intrigue with this heavy stone vessel.
Since the beginning of time, starting with the cave-people, mostly women, have used a stone vessel
to grind their berries, seeds, tubers, corn, spices into edible quality.
There are few things as ancient as a mortar.
You can locate mortars online and in speciality stores. They do give an "air" of "serious" cook when placed on the kitchen counter.
Beware: never let "looks" fool you!

Does this give the appearance of a "serious" cook?
Stay tuned.

Now what I didn't know before I carried this big "baby" out of the store was the work it would take to "season" it!  Season I thought that was for cast iron skillets?

Fill mortar with REAL RICE and start grinding every which way. Up and down, all around, over and over again.

I had a little helper because this was "BIG MAN" work.
Hours came and went.
Many hands ground the rock hard rice kernels.

"Are you sure we aren't finished? Smells pretty good to me!"

Finally a fine, deeply ground rice powder. 
If it is grayish, guess what, you do it AGAIN!
It was definitely grayish.
Now my helpers disappeared altogether.
So working a bit each day the rice powder became more light and white.

Silly me, I reread the directions and WHAT ANOTHER STEP?
It is true. Now flavorful spices have to be worked into the rough, stony surface.

This was easy peasy after the salt episodes!!!

What a paste? The kitchen SMELLED like a serious cook was stirring something up.

Then I discovered something profound:

It was much easier to just SKETCH the silly thing!!
Truth be known: there are now TWO crater-weight mortars on our counter. Use: seldom. But fun when put to work. Makes me FEEL like a serious cook!
But I will go back to painting, thank you.

Heart Thought: have you gone through periods of time simply craving certain foods...after pizza that is? 
What would you simply "die" for dinner tonight?
Me...anything that requires a mortar and pestle in its preparation!!!
smiles, thanks for visiting.


  1. Sharon,
    Had to smile at your story of the mortar and pestle. Since I am not a cook, let alone a serious one, I liked your response to this whole scenario - paint it! That's turning all that grinding effort into something worthwhile.

  2. I never knew mortars and pestles needed to be seasoned. I guess I never knew people actually used them for more than decoration in modern kitchens. I love the sketch! Is that guacamole I see there? Yum!


Thank you for taking your time to drop by and leave a note. Warmly, Sharon