A mortar is a thick marble, metal, stone-ware or glass bowl in which meats, nuts, herbs, spices, etc. are pounded with a pestle until they form a powder or paste. Wooden mortars and pestles are available, but they are not as effective because the surface is soft.

Mortars vary in size from 2-pint 1/2-quart ones for making forcemeats and pates to cup-sized ones in which herbs and spices are crushed.

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