Keco Kecvpe

keco kecvpe
“pounding-bowl pounding-stick”
mortar and pestle

Lilah D. Lindsey, 1933

keco kecvpeThe best method is to use the mortar and pestle for pounding corn or meat. This is a short log about three feet long, one end of which is cut down one foot in a cornucopia shape, the pestle is about two inches in size at one end and about six inches in diameter at the other end, using the small end to fit into the opening of the log.

Beulah Simms, 1970

These articles were standard equipment of the Creek Indian’s kitchen. There are those of us who still have fond memories of our long-skirted grandmother with hair neatly tied in black silk head scarf, pounding corn for the family meals under a nearby shade tree. This work was often done in the cool of the early morning or late afternoon. Enough corn for several meals was prepared at this time so the process would not have to be repeated for several days.

A mortar is fashioned from the trunk of a tree which has been cut into a piece about four feet long. The bark is peeled from the tree with a hatchet. A hole in the top of the tree trunk is bored out and hot coals are placed in the hole. It is then alternately burned out and chiseled out until it is hollowed out down to a depth of about a foot, leaving an outer rim of about four inches. The hollowed-out area is then smoothed out and all burned wood is removed.

Hokti's keco kecvpeIn selecting the wood for the keco, a tree is selected which is rooted in rocky soil and has had to struggle to grow, therefore is crooked as a result; or one which has been twisted by the wind so that the grains of the wood do not run straight. A tree trunk with straight grains will split too easily when the hole is hewed out of the top of it.

The material to be pounded is placed in this portion and pounded with the pestle, or kecvpe.

The kecvpe is fashioned from a pole about two inches in diameter except for one end, which is at least twice the diameter for a length of about a foot. The purpose of this large end is to give the pole weight in pounding the material.

Bertha Tilkens, 2004

Corn used to be ground by using a hollowed-out log, called a keco, and a pounder made from a log with a long handle, called a kecvpe. The pounder’s top was heavier than the bottom, which fit into the hollow in the keco, in order to give it the weight to pound the corn into coarse or fine meal.

Today, some people grind the corn in blenders or food processors, though this results in a coarser meal.

Baskets

Sources

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