mortar and pestle

Pronunciation: [MOR-tuhr and PEHS-tl]

A mortar is a bowl-shaped container and a pestle is a rounded, batlike instrument. As a pair, the mortar and pestle are used for grinding and pulverizing spices, herbs and other foods. The pestle is pressed against the mortar and rotated, grinding the ingredient between them until the desired consistency is obtained. The mortar and pestle are usually made from the same material, generally marble, hardwood, porcelain or stoneware. The Mexican term for mortar and pestle is "molcajete y tejolete."

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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