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A MORTARIVM at last!...and a question, of course....

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  • Kevin McDermott
    SALVETE After a long pause.... Just got back from a month s concert tour in Germany; half concertizing, a week looking at Roman stuff (including the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 18, 2008
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      After a long pause....
      Just got back from a month's concert tour in Germany; half concertizing, a week looking at
      Roman stuff (including the opportunity to grind grain and bake bread with a roman mill
      and oven, which I hope to report on in a bit), and then a week in Vienna "just for fun"...of
      course, the romans were there, too...you can't avoid them (unless you live in the
      USA....although according to Ivor Noel Hume, once the archeologist of Colonial
      Williamsburg and a British native....he was surprised (to say the least) when roman pottery
      started showing up in a dig in one of the Virginia rivers. No, the romans DIDN'T discover
      America; the stuff had been loaded as ballast with other muck in the Thames, then the
      ship sank here. So, perhaps you can't even avoid them here, either.

      Anyway, one of the (many) highpoints was a chance to visit FORVM TRAIANI's homebase
      and shop near Frankfurt. I was given a wonderful welcome by Andi and turns out....there's
      lots of stuff that never makes it to the web, because of small numbers. My advice: if you
      want something, call or write and ask about it. You may be surprised....one of the
      surprises was--they do MORTARIA. They have a number of them; I purchased one of beige
      clay about a foot across together with one of the nose-handled pestles. The MORTARIVM
      fairly smooth on the inside....the others they had (in red clay) were VERY knobbly; can't
      really imagine doing anything other than shredding tough meat in them...but did see
      originals at a number of the museums we took in that were almost as rough. So they had

      My question: with the mexican lava molcajetes, there's a recommended seasoning process.
      Much of this is intended to get rid of as much grit as possible before you start using it for
      food prep; this clearly isn't necessary with the MORTARIVM. But, usually, the final step is to
      grind up several cloves of garlic (sometimes with cumin, salt, and pepper to boot), wipe it
      out, and then let it sit to make a finish on the inside of the mortar.

      If anyone out there has experience using a true MORTARIVM regularly, I wonder what, if
      anything, you did before beginning to use it....and what advice/experiences you have to

      Thanks in advance, good to be back, and hopefully I'll have the leisure to expand on the
      roman cooking experiences I had while gone.

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