Kitchen Tools: Mortar and Pestle

For as long as I can remember, I have tracked the color of the sky once winter solstice has passed.

I don't need to remind those of us in the Northern Hemisphere that the lighter the sky at, say, 4:30 p.m., the closer we are to spring.

(And I love spring more than any other season. No reason to list a litany of reasons. You know what I mean: buds, birdsong, the angle of the sun.)

Observing the sky at a given time helps me to remind myself that winter, which can be beastly here in Wisconsin, is a temporary condition.

I am pleased to report that the sky was still medium blue at 4:30 in Northern Wisconsin. As I looked out my window to check, a bird flew across the tree tops, heading south against the coming night perhaps: One of those small moments that never fails to enchant me.

While we wait for spring, we spend winter nights and weekends experimenting in the kitchen. Most of the experiments never make it to the pages of this blog, but they provide a welcome distraction from snow and cold.

Inevitably there is a Christmas gift from my husband that makes my kitchen time fun and sometimes challenging. I'm still experimenting with the mandoline he bought me a few years ago. My back and feet thank him daily for the chef's floor mat he bought me a bit more recently.

This year's gift may be less comforting to my back. The mortar and pestle is one I chose myself from a little shop in a neighboring city that sells books and finely-crafted furniture and other household or decorative items. As you can see from the photo, this is no ordinary mortar and pestle.

It's heavy, too, something I did not consider. I only looked at its aesthetics.

My husband jokes that it provided traction during the month it spent in the trunk of his car.

I swear it's a lethal weapon.


You made me laugh but I do like the mortar and's nice and rustic looking!

Sara said…
I noticed the color of the sky late this afternoon too :)
Fiona said…
I liked those comments too... about the mortar and pestle providing traction in the trunk of the car ;) Every day will get a little lighter now, spring is on the way.
L Vanel said…
Hello Mimi! I aso have a similar one that my husband brought me from Mexico. I have done much with it except to grind rice into it to season it. I think this year is the perfect year to give it more use.
Aunty Belle said…
A stone mortar!

Do you know that
Russian witch, Baba Yaga?
She flies a mortar an' pestle -- no broom for her.

I have a heavy (not as stone!) old wooden mortar an' pestle that belonged to my French Lebanese GrandMere--years of garlic an' mint-- I needed a separate one for nuts. It too is wooden, but I may go on the hunt now for a stone version.

Happy New Year!
Blondie, this darn thing is so heavy, it's like lifting weights!

Isn't it fun, Sara, to track the coming of spring?

Fiona, as the poem goes, "We're nearer to spring than we were in September."

Ouch, Lucy, Loic's suitcase must have been heavy! I will season mine with rice from the Camargue, I think.

Aunty Belle, I am not certain this one would get off the ground! How lovely to have an heirloom mortar and pestle!
Kristen said…
A Mortar and Pestle like that is something I've wanted for so long but still have not purchased (not sure why). Congrats on your new toy!!
Hope you are doing well, Mimi Happy new year!
Thanks, Kristen! Ditto to you!
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