The Comforts of Home

Coffee Making Essentials

Just a quick post today from home, before I head back to the islands for another trip and -breaking news- a paid photo session doing portraiture!

Gathered here is a very quickly composed shot from my kitchen. As many of you know, I love to cook for fun and relaxation. Among my kitchen essentials are the burr grinder and milk frother for espresso, my lovely knives, my olive oil, and my pilón from the Dominican Republic. I did a little research about the pilón, since it is such a staple of latin cooking, and here is what I learned.

It turns out that the pilón was first used by the Taíno Indians. Conquistador historians like Fray Iñigo Abbad, and Fernández de Oviedo mention having seen the Indians use giant size vases to mash different things. The ancient pilones were much like the pilones of today. Same shaped but quite rustic. Taínos would step one foot on the base to prevent it from tipping over when hit with the giant macetas. Taínos used large hollowed out tree trunks to form waist high pilones. The hole was approximately 25 inches in diameter – of course they often varied in size. Some were small hand-held pilones but still larger than the ones we use today. Since Taínos used them – pilones were found in all the Caribbean Islands. The hole for the pilón was burned out and carved using simple rustic tools. Giant macetas were carved out of trees also.

The final product depended on the talents of the carver. Some were very rustic, most were just plain practical. Some were well finished smooth and shiny on the outside. Some were pieces of art with elaborate carvings but I’ve never seen any of those myself. Pilones found in Haiti tend to be more elaborately decorated, even today. Taínos used the pilón and maceta to mash corn, spices, medicinal herbs and other things. Ingredients to make body paint were also processed in a pilón. With the introduction of the coffee bean into our culture, the pilón took an even more prominent place in our history.

Mine was hand made, hand picked, and even hand delivered and I wouldn’t part from it without a fight.

Casper in the sun

Just aorund the corner from my kitchen is the patio. During the temperate months, this is a great place to enjoy the hummingbirds, butterflies, and a refreshing iced beverage. I’ve become a fan of the Mojito… hey, if it was good enough for Hemingway, it is certainly good enough for me.


Springtime is flower time, and despite our precious meadow being flattened and made into town houses there are still wildflowers here and there. My flower knowledge is even weaker than my bird skills, so I’ll leave the identification bit to more competent hands.


Another gratuitous flower shot. They are just too pretty NOT to take pictures of, ya know?


~ by JG on April 19, 2008.

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