When you work as a professional chef you get would up like a spring, you are tighter than ducks bum! Every single electron in your body fires for 8 hours straight as you race through busy double shift service sessions being lucky not to fall under the wheels of a bus when you are finally disgorged from the kitchen’s back entrance onto the busy streets. Some people jump off buildings, others jump into shark invested waters some people even push lumps of metal through parts of their bodies in order to satisfy a ‘need to feel’. As a chef you have this ‘need to feel switch’ permanently on, there is no way of getting away from it. If you’re a BASE jumper maybe one day you think, “stuff it, I’ll have a cup of tea today instead of jumping off the Empire State building”…..a chef can’t do that, never will he or she enjoy total and utter ‘switch off’……which is kinda cool really.
I think I may have killed somebody if it were not for the humble Mortar and Pestle. It’s the single most Zen object in the world as far as I am concerned. The white heat and testosterone fuelled melting pot of a professional kitchen is enough to send you one of two ways. First you can wither and die as the work piles up ontop of you and you are eventually thrown out the back with buckets of slop or second you can become a dog, point blank refusing to die and taking the head, hand and heart of anyone that dares step too close. This has it’s draw backs….you become that dog 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year….you need something to temper your teeth.
And this, dear people is were I bring you the Mortar and Pestle.
If you haven’t ever used one – you should and if you don’t like using them get one anyway…they look very cool in your kitchen.
This kitchen essential has been in existence for millions of years in some shape or form and it’s simplicity has never had to be improved on…..it is simply designed to beat the best out of ingredients. The Mortar and Pestle really comes into its own when making spice paste’s. Onion, lemon grass, garlic, salt, ginger, chili all roughly chopped and brought together by….well…..violence. On the other hand it can be used in a much more delicate way to make Mayonnaise or Aioli.
If you use a kitchen blitzer then I salute you, it is a piece of kit that every kitchen and cook needs, but the Mortar and Pestle will do more for your soul than any whizzing blade cased in plastic ever can. If you have ever done manual labour or say mixed cement you’ll understand the Zen state that can be achieved by using a Mortar and Pestle.
Get one, use it, love it…..avoid 3rd degree murder of a colleague!