I went to the Asian Grocery store today, and brought home an enormous 17# ( I weighed it)solid granite mortar and pestle. It is absolutely awesome! It turned the garlic into a perfect paste, pine nuts next, basil leaves, a sprinkle of salt, and some black pepper, it was the most perfect creamy pesto in less than 3 minutes- I did not even have to add any olive oil, it absolutely liberated all the oil from the pine nuts. I'm basically a 130# weakling, and this thing just works so well. I saw a youtube video w a woman making pesto by hand w the marble mortar and wood pestle. She had to work very hard, and it took awhile. I'm going to try hummus tomorrow- it is such a pain in the blender, and maybe a crushed tomato salsa, definitely guacamole, I'm sure the serranos will mash up just fine. Curry pastes will be a snap, crushing spices, mashing shallot for fabulous quick vinaigrettes,, no PIA assembly/ diassembly/ sharp parts/ break downs at a crucial time/ works even without electricity... I would highly recommend a solid granite mortar and pestle. The bigger and heavier, the better.