The Loss of Large Wooden Mortar and Pestle, Lusong

I heard my uncle was going to make nilupak. Then my auntie said that making nilupak is so hard, you gonna spend hours of pounding in order to get a nice homogeneous mixture. Hmm.. whatever!

The same night, I saw him moving the wooden pestle up and down, adding some force as it move downward. I was not able to went near and took a picture cause I was carrying my cute baby boy. Sorry for that!

I saw the big wooden mortar and pestle he used the next day.  The pounding equipment is made of large santol trunk. I was not able to took a shot cause my camera was on low batteries. I tried to get a picture the next day but they hid it somewhere (too many excuses).  I promised to get a nice pics the next time I see the wood.

Before mom and dad were using lusong (the big wooden mortar and pestle) to hull dried coffee, pound corn and rice and make ube haleya. Most lusong has two pestles. Two men are needed to do the job done faster. They are facing each other, holding the pestle with the right hand and pounding the commodity simultaneously. A pestle will go downward when the other one is raised up.

Next, the simple still mill became popular, the corn mill. Mom bought one for home use. It has two round teeth facing each other. The two teeth do the grinding job. It is manually operated by turning the short lever clockwise. Getting a uniform grind size is easy cause the two teeth spacing is adjustable, wide space for coarse grind and narrow space for fine particle output.

From then on, the widely used lusong i slowly disappearing before my eyes. I barely see it nowadays. The smaller version can be found in every household. It is used for pounding small amount of garlic, black pepper and ginger. However, it is also being replaced by mini electric blender and food processor.  A mini blender is powerful enough to pulverize black pepper in seconds.

marble type mortar and pestle

Time will come that we can see lusong only in antique shops and pictures.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

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