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Antique Cookware of the
“Mexican Cuisine"

In the same way as the Mexican food has survived through time, since the Pre-Hispanic Mexico to our days. The antique pre-hispanic cookware , that was used to cook the Mexican food, also remains in force and in use; mainly when it comes to cooking typical and authentic Mexican food.

There were a wide variety
of cooking utensils used by the ancient indigenous people like: molcajete, metate, griddle, jars, pots, pans, tortilla press, baskets, clay plates, grinders, pots, spatulas, spoons, spatula, sticks, knives, blowers, bowls, hollow pumpkins, hunting instruments, etc.

– It is a long list but let’s emphasize the most used and popular cookware.

Griddle | Metate | Molcajete | Molinillo | Tamale Pot | Tortilla Press


This instrument is kind of a portable stove made of metal. At the base it has a compartment to put wood or coal. On the upper part it holds a griddle where food is heated.

It is a
simple instrument , but on those times when there were no stoves available it certainly was very useful.



The griddle is a baked clay disk of approximately 20’’ in diameter. The disc was placed on 3 stones, without touching the coal and it is used to cook tortillas , to roast chiles and grains and to heat food.

If you want to buy a griddle you must
“cure it" . For this its 2 sides must be rubbed with a mixture of water and slaked lime; and afterwards is left to dry to the sun. With this process the pores are closed to prevent leakage . Although nowadays griddles are mostly made of iron.

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The metate was the most important instrument for the indigenous people because they grind grains on it and from this milling they obtained flour for the tortillas , the atole and more food.

This cookware consists of a rectangular volcanic stone with high ends. The stone is supported on 3 feet which have a slight inclination to facilitate the grinding. The
metlapil , from the Nahuatl language “son of the metate" consists of a heavy and irregular stone wider than the metate with which the grains are grind.

– Imagine how
uncomfortable it was to grind with the metate; one had to kneel, grab the metlapil and roll it with your hands along the metate.

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This cookware consists of a mortar made of volcanic stone with 3 feet where soft products are grind with the “tejolote" (cylindric stone). It is mainly used to grind tomatoes, onions, salt, garlic, chiles, spices , herbs , etc.

It is said that a
salsa prepared in the molcajete has a better taste than one made in a blender... try it and confirm it!

We have no doubt that the best
moles and the best salsas are the ones that are made in molcajetes, because a tasty thick paste is created. On the other hand when a blender is used it only destroys everything

If you want to buy a molcajete
verify that the stone is solid and firm ; believe us you don’t want to eat stones in your salsa. Nowadays there are plastic molcajetes , these molcajetes these are used as ornaments or as salsa containers. These do not serve to grind nor to prepare salsa.

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Who doesn’t like to enjoy a foamy hot chocolate ... this was achieved thanks to the molinillo. It is a cylindrical wooden stick of about 15’’. It is wider in the bottom, and it has a sphere and rings over it.

To use it is hold with the palms and
it is turned from one side to another . It happens to be perfect for whipping chocolate, atole and other drinks ; creating foam on the drink surface.

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Tamale Pot

The ancestor of the pressure cooker, the tamale pot. It is a steamer to which a grid is placed near the bottom. Underneath the grid water is poured and over the grid tamales are laid to be steamed . Cooking food in such a way lasts longer, it doesn’t lose its salts nor vitamins and it has a better consistency.

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Tortilla Press

This tool replaces the action of making tortillas by hand. It consists of 2 wooden planks which are pressed by a lever. In between the planks dough is deposited and then crushed to get the tortilla ready to be cooked.

– Now
metal tortilla press are used because they are more efficient and durable.

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As you can see these cookwares happen to be difficult to use and the
Mexican cuisine has also been victim of the technology . For this reason the prehispanic cookware are rarely used.

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More Topics About the Mexican Food

Prehispanic Beverages.
Prehispanic Meat.
Mexican Food History.