As important as food is for living, so are the objects used in preparing it. The earthen pot is an important kitchenware used traditionally in the preparation of several African dishes. It is commonly known as a clay pot because it is made out of rough clay, often shaped with hands.
An earthen pot is made by the combination of two types of mud clay. The first is taken from the surface of the earth and the second after digging more than 10 feet deeper into the earth. Making an earthen pot takes at least 8 days. The clay is mixed with water, shaped, finished, polished, dried, and baked in a kiln (hot air oven) for 5 days. At last, it becomes a completed earthen pot.
The earthen pot may come in different sizes and shapes. They are used majorly for cooking in the kitchen and also for commercial cooking purposes. The much bigger pot is referred to as ‘amu’ by the Yoruba people and apart from being used for cooking, it is also used for storing water. In the olden days, when there is less civilization in this part of the world, water stored in this pot is always cold. It was an alternative to refrigerators and freezers.
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This kind of pot is still in use till today in Nigeria as well as in other African countries, especially in Morocco and Tunisia. In the Northern part of Nigeria, women are involved in pottery where pots are being made for cooking purposes. This process of pottery has its home in Bida, Niger state.
Apart from being used as cooking wares, this pot made of clay is used by the herbalists in preparing and making sacrifices to their gods. Some of these pots are seen in T-junctions especially in the southwestern parts of the country.
The earthen pot is one of the several objects and kitchenware made with clay. It is also one should have in your kitchen because of its unique qualities and properties.