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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.