Mortar and Pestle
This mortar and pestle is the new toy. I think today most people think themortar and pestle is a bit useless, compared to electric food processors; however, most of the mortar and pestles you see in shops are useless, for they are just far too light and small. For this primitive tool to work really well it must be large and very heavy. When a mortar and pestle is as big as the one above it does all the work for you, as well as being incredibly satisfying to use. It is a behemoth of a tool, that would make light work out of the skull of your greatest enemy. It is also simply a beautiful piece of kitchen equipment.
Mortar and pestles are found in practically every civilisation, with each design very different, depending on where you are in the world. The design changes according to how people cook, whether they are grinding up nuts, or spices, or roots and herbs. It also depends on what materials they have on hand to make the mortar and pestle with.
The mortar and pestle found in southern Europe is often marble with a wooden handle – perfect for gentle things like pesto, aioli, or picada. Mexico has its molcajete made from basalt. Thailand has its tall and strangely shaped clay design, made specifically for making som tum, the famous green papaya salad.
This mortar and pestle is made by Milton Brook, who have been making them in Staffordshire for over 100 years. Porcelain and beech wood are the materials used to make Milton Brook mortar and pestled, ceramic being an obvious choice in Staffordshire. This one is a ‘size 6’ and is the biggest you can get.
If you ever have trouble remembering which is the pestle and which is the mortar, I always think of a mnemonic Richard Griffiths used in a television play called Sensitive Skin. The P in pestle is for penis, the M in mortar is for muff. Now you will never forget!