Grinding food is important for well being, personal development, and confidence building. People will wonder how you have come to stand so tall and speak with such precision. Patricia Gray supports this notion stating that “pounding fragrant things - particularly garlic, basil, parsley - is a tremendous antidote to depression… pounding these things produces an alteration in one’s being - from sighing with fatigue to inhaling with pleasure.” (Honey from a Weed, 34).
Cooking in spring is an inspired affair. Rather than moping through the house in a tattered winter sweater eating wrinkly turnips and green potatoes, one gently levitates through the garden, basket in hand, gathering fragrant herbs and spring greens in well-tailored clothing smiling at life’s possibilities. Tulips blossom under foot and morels and asparagus make omelets of the finest sort.
The large mortar and pestle in the photos is of the Mexican variety, called molcajete and tejote. They are made from volcanic stone and used to mash all of the precious New World food stuffs from tomatoes and roasted chiles to chocolate and vanilla. I mashed garlic with salt and olive oil into a paste and added chopped parsley and mashed it into pesto. This I sauteed with a scant bit of chopped parsnip until the fragrance of the garlic was released. A bit of pasta water was added and reduced, pasta was then stirred in along with oil cured olives and a squeeze of lemon.