During ancient times, American Indians utilized sedimentary rocks and sandstone for manufacturing many of the tools they needed. Stone was plentiful in the territories they resided, as well as durable. Proven to be useful, American Indians also found stone to be beneficial as a bartering tool, for building shelter and grinding grain.
River stones were frequently used to soften meat, grind corn, crush leaves and other vegetables. Mortar and pestle tools were used by American Indians for grinding foods. According to the Encylopedia Britannica it is the the first known means for grinding grain. A shallow impression would be made within stone, grain placed inside, and pounded with a stone similar to a club — oblong shape — in appearance. “Mano” is the Spanish word for “hand.” It pertains to stone utilized in one or both hands swayed against a larger stone for grinding seeds. “Metate” is a term used by American Indians detailing the larger stone upon which the mano is used to grind the grain.
I recall my mother used river stones of several sizes to soften meat, crush garlic and green plantain to make “patacones“. There was always a collection of river stones in my mother’s kitchen. They were black in color and very smooth. Even though we have pierced inside the 21st century, we are still clinging to our traditions of our ancestors. My mother-in-law also used river stones to cook in her home in Aguadulce, and this tradition was passed on to my wife Aura.
Below is a pictures of a dark river stone which my wife still uses to prepare our meals. You know that I’m a technological geek, but I still won’t let go of ancient traditions like river stones to prepare our food. As Alvin Toffler used to say, “change is non-linear and can go backwards, forwards and sideways.”