Traditional Maya Grounding of Cocoa Beans

Rudy Giron: Antigua Guatemala &emdash; Traditional Grounding of Cocoa Beans

Here’s your illustrated Spanish word of the day: Molcajete or mortar and pestle.

So how did the Maya and Mexica grounded their cacao beans, maize, etc.? Well, simple, by hand, using a humble molcajete, mortar, and tejolote, pestle, as shown above.

The molcajete was used by pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican cultures, including the Aztec and Maya, stretching back several thousand years. Traditionally carved out of a single block of vesicular basalt, molcajetes are typically round in shape and supported by three short legs. They are frequently decorated with the carved head of an animal on the outside edge of the bowl, giving the molcajete the appearance of a short, stout, three-legged animal. The pig is the most common animal head used for decoration of this type. The matching hand-held grinding tool, known as a tejolote (Mexican Spanish, from Nahuatl texolotl), is also made of the same basalt material. Source: Wikipedia.

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