Mortar and Pestle ✨ is our logo because it is the first instrument we used in a kitchen, assisting our parents with their cooking. 👧🏽
My earliest memory of being in a kitchen involved my mom asking me to pound whole spices, ginger, garlic or herbs in a mortar. In essence, I was introduced to aromas first, a slow deliberate ritual of pounding that released the essential oils from these ingredients.
Over time it became my thing to do for every dish that my mom cooked. "Is this enough", I would ask her.
Sometimes coarse, sometimes to a paste.
But always a mindful connection to the food I would be eating. She would tell me my contribution would be bringing the most flavor to the dish.
We love looking how the mortar and pestle means so much more than being just a kitchen tool across several countries and cultures!
Pictured here are traditional mortar and pestles form India, Indonesia, Latin America and African countries.
Great Dogon medicine pot with pestle (#1 here). The mortar and pestle is considered sacred in many African countries, is used ceremoniously during installation of tribal chiefs, leaders and also during weddings.
Mortars are made of mango wood in Senegal and hold a profound significance.
With the Soninke people of Southern Senegal, when a stranger enters a house and sees a mortar upside down with the pestle sitting at its base, it means that there was a death in the family.
The sound of the mortar, for that matter, should never be heard at night unless there is a funeral. The mortar is then used to crush incense for the ultimate bath of the deceased.
In the Bambara tradition of Mali, a newlywed young bride had to sit four times in a row on a mortar. In addition, the bride herself always brought a symbolic mortar and pestle among her belongings when moving in with her new husband.
An ulek, the Indonesian flat-bowled pestle and mortar is used to grind bumbu spice pastes. Made of volcanic stone, the rough surface helps break down the spices as the angled pestle is rocked back and forth over them.
Traditional corn tortillas in Belize are made with masa ground in a mortar and a heavy stone pestle.
In India, women often sit down to grind pulses and grains into batter using a mortar and pestle. Dosa and Idli batters are traditionally made this way, by adding water slowly to make a batter.