Thursday, March 28, 2013

Grinding your Own

 A year ago or so we ran out of coffee while camping and while in town, picked up some more coffee.  I checked the bag that the coffee was in and it felt pre-ground.  Next morning when we got up to make coffee, the beans turned out not to be ground.  Luckily, there was a large rock at the edge of the campground and the banks of the river across the street yielded a mano, the stone you hold in your hands to grind the corn. With a little practice we managed to make a fine grind and breakfast was saved.
Closeup on the grinding operation.

 Of course, grinding stuff on stone grinders is nothing new.  It is in fact quite old and just recently, we visited Montezuma's Castle in Arizona where a number of stone grinders were on exhibit.

 The stone grinders in the American Southwest are known as Mano and Metate, the metate being the large flat stone and the smaller one you grind with is called the Mano.
 A slightly different arrangement visible throughout California are large flat boulders that were used for grinding acorns, a staple food in much of California before the arrival of the Europeans.  Unlike the metate which is flat, the grind stones for acorns have conical pits in them.  This prevents the acorns from spreading about.  Any that escape in the grinding process can be easily swept back into the hole.
And here is a long view of the grinding rock.  Note that the rock had a number of pits in it and so had room for a number of women to go about their grinding in a sociable way.  The rock also happens to be conveniently located in a flat area surrounded by oaks.

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