Food - Drink
The Messy Way Mortadella Was Originally Made
By JOHN J LEE
Mortadella is a porky Italian cold cut with roots in the Bologna region, and much like the more common cold cut directly named after this area, mortadella is made of a spiced, emulsified meat mixture that is stuffed into a casing and steamed for a soft yet sliceable texture. However, back in the day, the process of making mortadella was far messier.
Emulsification is the process by which meat is minced into a fine paste, and while this can now be performed by a machine, it had to be done by hand throughout the 1600s. A mortar and pestle, which is often used to crush spices in the modern kitchen, was used to break down the mortadella meat mixture into a soft, even consistency.
Mortadella makers also spent a lot of time pounding the pork before beating it into a paste, and anyone who's used a mortar and pestle knows that ingredients can go flying if you bring down the pestle with enough force. While making mortadella today is quite a bit easier, many believe that the cold cut's name is derived from "mortar."