Wednesday, January 4, 2012

mortar and pestle

After two years of crushing our whole spices in a Ziploc bag on the counter top with a sauce pan, it was finally time for TWSF to invest in an actual mortar and pestle. Although our makeshift technique works just fine, it is a pain to execute and a bit uncivilized. Also, I imagine we unintentionally introduced trace amounts of polyethylene into many a dish. Being proponents of the unique, we did not want a mortar of the typical ceramic or marble persuasion and have been on the lookout for a cool alternative.

While taking another visitor on the DC walking tour of the National Mall, we stumbled upon the Smithsonian’s Gem and Mineral gift shop in the Natural History Museum. Being an avid rock collector in my youth this store offered much to be desired, but one item caught my eye. A mortar and pestle made from travertine. Travertine is a form of massive calcite resulting from deposition by springs or rivers, the specimens in the gift shop come from Pakistan. The gift shop also offers travertine bowls, cups, coasters, and plates. At $35 It was more costly than traditional mortars. Its small premium to pay for a unique item, plus free museums don't pay for themselves.

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