The mortar and pestle
Janet Fletcher has written in the San Francisco Chronicle praising the mortar. It’s a well written piece, with delightful photographs of a selection of mortars. According to SauteWednesday it won a 2002 James Beard Foundation journalism award:
Although the mortar has disappeared from most American kitchens, pushed off the counter by the electric mixer, toaster, coffee maker and can opener, many good cooks say they wouldn’t be without one. Some turn to it daily for little jobs like smacking garlic cloves before peeling them, cracking peppercorns, pounding chiles or crushing stale bread for breadcrumbs. For others, it is essential to reproducing the authentic texture and taste of finished dishes - the guacamole and salsas of Mexico, the green papaya salad of Thailand or the kibbe of the Middle East.