Before European settlers arrived on American soil carrying metal utensils, the natives made the majority of their cooking tools from stone, clay, bone, wood and animal hide. A sack made from animal skin to boil water or two rocks used to grind food may sound primitive today but these Native American cooking tools carried out their specific tasks effectively.
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The Native Americans made boiling sacks by forging the tanned hides or bladders of animals into sacks. After filled them with water they hung the boiling sack above a fire but far enough away to prevent damage to the sack. They placed extremely hot rocks into the water to bring it to boiling point, added food and boiled it.
Celts were cooking tools that resemble arrowheads. However they were blunter, bigger and chunkier than the tip of an arrow. The Native Americans used Celts for pounding food and often made them from stone.
Grinding stones were effectively pairs of rocks, one small and the other larger and flatter. The simplest comparison of this tool is a mortar and pestle, since the food went onto the larger rock to be grinded by the small rock. Common uses of this tool included cracking nuts and root pulverizing.
Native American cooking pots were commonly made from clay. The pots were rounded with open tops, but the bottom formed a point. They hung on tripods made from stone. Sticks burned underneath to create heat for food to cook inside the pots.
Other Cooking Tools
The Native Americans used wood to create a variety of cooking utensils, including spoons, stirrers and ladles. Knives were made from bark and split hickory was forged into tongs, ideal for lifting hot coal. Animal bones were often used as cooking tools; a deer’s jawbone would scrape the kernels of a sweet corn cob.