Equipping The Modern Kitchen In The Arizona Desert (Circa 1750)

Mortgage and Lending with SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) NMLS 223495

 ~ Every Indian Kitchen Needed One ~

This valley was a food source for ancient Amerindians: Mike in Tucson, AZ mortgage lenderThe kitchen is the first room I want to see in a new home.  Ease of food preparation has a lot to do with the home's value.  I've toured beautiful homes and been captured by the modern conveniences that have been installed in the kitchen.  Maybe the subject resonates more with me because I dearly love to cook.

It's been the same throughout history. Cooks everywhere want conveniences.

I took these photos southwest of Tucson, in the Sierrita mountains.  I was bushwhacking (exploring where no trails exist) in the valley at the base of a granite upthrust, when I came across this communal "kitchen." 

Who can identify the food source and the method of preparation?  (Incidentally, this same food source and method of preparation are practiced and enjoyed in Tucson's cuisine today.)

What's this?  Mike in Tucson, AZ mortgage lender


I'm Mike in Tucson, your preferred Tucson Arizona Mortgage Lender.

NMLS #223495

SUNSTREET MORTGAGE llc ~ Correspondent Mortgage Bank
Offices (AZ) Mesa, Tucson, Sierra Vista, and Nogales.

Comments (35)

Cory Barbee
San Diego, CA
Broker (760) 563-4022

I'm sure they appreciated each and every meal !!

Feb 17, 2011 04:40 AM
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Hi Mike~  What an interesting find!  You will have to tell us what it is!  I have no clue!

Feb 17, 2011 06:13 AM
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Mike - you always manage to take and post the coolest photos and you have all of us wondering, so please tell!

Feb 17, 2011 06:39 AM
Jim Little
Ken Meade Realty - Sun City, AZ
Your Sun City Arizona Realtor

In California, the usual food source was acorns, but in the desert it might have been chia or mesquite.

Feb 17, 2011 07:39 AM
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495

Mesquite Pods: Courtesy of Desert Harvesters: Mike in Tucson, AZ mortgage lender




...and the winner is...  (drum roll, please)  RICK OBST!

Mike in Tucson

(photo courtesy of Desert Harvesters

See their website at http://www.desertharvesters.org)


Feb 17, 2011 08:46 AM
Retired from ActiveRain
Baker, OR

Thanks Mike.  I was born and raised in the Phoenix area and have traveled extensively through the southwest desert.  I had a huge mesquite tree in the front yard of one of my homes and tried grinding mesquite beans in a coffee grinder to make flour for baking.  The bean pods are so hard that one of the grinder blades broke during the grinding process.  Grinding mesquite beans with a rock would be very hard work.

Feb 17, 2011 10:27 AM
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495


They're fibrous, and don't grind well at all (as you learned.)  Pounding, on the other hand, works well.  Modern day afficionados in Tucson use a portable Hammer Mill to do the job.  Check out the website at www.desertharvesters.org

Mike in Tucson

Feb 17, 2011 11:10 AM
Debbie Walsh
Shahar Management - Middletown, NY
Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036

Good thing I wasn't cooking back then.  Looks like way too much work to me!

Feb 17, 2011 11:11 AM
Gary Coles (International Referrals)
Venture Realty International - Las Vegas, NV
Latin America Real Estate

Mike, Great photos as always.  I was just thinking of the work that it took to make those holes in that granite.  Fascinating. 

And thank you so much for your help today when I called you.

Feb 17, 2011 11:12 AM
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Mike -- What a fascinating post.  Any idea how old those holes in the rocks are? When they were used?

Feb 17, 2011 12:58 PM
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

Hi Mike, I had no idea what they did or the food source.  You can tell I'm not a cook!

Feb 17, 2011 03:24 PM
Jon Quist
Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996

I just hope the home inspector wrote up all those holes. Wow.

Feb 17, 2011 06:47 PM
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495




No worries.


The inside of the holes gives a clue to the fact that they're not recent.  The rock face is weathered somewhat.  I'm guessing when I use 250 years, and I've got a geologist friend looking into it.


Any time!


I'll bet it was a lot of work.  You couldn't refrigerate leftovers either...

Mike in Tucson

Feb 17, 2011 10:42 PM
Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ
Weichert - Lopatcong, NJ


The very thought makes me want to call to order a pizza delivery!  Thanks for the photos and brainteaser.

Feb 17, 2011 11:05 PM
Traci Ferguson
San Luis Obispo Realtor & ecoBroker with Patterson Realty - San Luis Obispo, CA
Realtor, EcoBroker, LEED AP

Thanks for the Trivia Question. I'm so happy for modern technology.Grinding in that little hole looks like quite the work out.

Congrats on tieing it into RE.:) Slick!

Feb 18, 2011 02:39 AM
Harry F. D'Elia III
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

We like to walk in the desert and find old ruins. Hey-we all have to eat. Great find

Feb 18, 2011 03:35 AM
Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind
KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate - Tucson, AZ

GOOD MORNING MIKE!  I learn something new every time I read your blog!  This should be featured in the Arizona centennial news - very good history! --G

Feb 18, 2011 06:46 AM
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


I learned something new and cool today. Thanks for sharing this part of your area's history!

Feb 18, 2011 08:29 AM
Retired from ActiveRain
Baker, OR

Mike, You inspired me to watch three episodes of Arizona Connections on DVD last night.  They were originally produced and aired by the PBS station at ASU.  I'm pretty well read on AZ history, but learned several things on the shows.  I miss Arizona in winter.  Thanks for the congratulatory phone call too.

Feb 18, 2011 08:56 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Mike - Those mortar and pestle holes would be really handy to have in my backyard.  I don't need as many of them, but there are days when I think it would be neat.  I love coming across stuff like this.

Jul 04, 2011 06:48 AM