As I tried to find a place in the refrigerator for the Thanksgiving leftovers, I made an unsettling discovery. I’m pretty sure I have a mustard addiction. I counted 16 half used bottles of mustard in a freaky collection that is clearly out of control.
I may be a mustard junkie, but there’s method to my madness. I’m a mediocre cook but I do know any food can be improved with a dab of mustard. Americans can eat garbage, provided you sprinkle it liberally with mustard, ketchup, Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, or any other condiment which destroys the original flavor of the dish, right?
But back to my obsession – in addition to the plain ole yellow variety (and several whose ‘use by’ date went out with shoulder pads) there is brown mustard, German mustard, spicy hot mustard, dijonnaise along with varieties labeled grainy, honey, beer, wasabi and one laced with horseradish. And there in the back is my prized jar of jalapeño mustard sold under the label of “Burn in Hell.”. Now there’s mustard to be reckoned with.
I like mustard on pretty much everything. I eat it on saltines. eggs and ham. I squirt a big blob of mustard into casseroles, be it mac n’ cheese, baked beans or asparagus. It adds a certain je ne sais quoi that will keep your taste buds bursting bite after bite.
Mustard is a super easy way of taking veggies from blah to brilliant. I whisk mustard with melted butter and drizzle over yucky-tasting vegetables like Brussels spouts or beets for a whole new culinary experience. I’m especially fond of mustard mixed with Worcestershire sauce. My mouth is watering just thinking about the flavor combination.
The hotdog pairing thing doesn’t begin to “cut the mustard” – anything a salsa can do, mustard can do better. If you have leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving try using it up with this delicious recipe. It’s filed under the name “Joe’s Sandwich Spread.” I’ve forgotten who Joe was but I’ve never forgotten his brilliant recipe for getting rid of the cranberry sauce my family never touches at Thanksgiving.
Combine the following:
1/2 cup Jellied Cranberry Sauce (right out of the can)
1 1/2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Slather on your leftover turkey sandwiches and you can thank me later.
As I combined several jars of my favorite condiment to pare down the clutter, I began to wonder exactly where mustard comes from. I know it started out as a tiny seed but just think how many if them must die to make a jar of mustard. That’s awesome, and you can still get a big jar for under a buck!
Of course, we all remember the parable of the mustard seed which Jesus used to demonstrate that with a little faith we can do great things. I would like to add that with a little mustard anything from my kitchen becomes almost edible.
I googled “mustard addiction” and learned the obsession is not all that uncommon. There is a man in Wisconsin who shaves with mustard and brushes his teeth with it. He left his job as a lawyer to open a mustard museum which features over 500 varieties of mustard. That must be heaven and I’m making plans for a mustard vacation in 2015.
To borrow a line from Dr. Seuss: “I would eat it in a boat! And I would eat it with a goat.
And I would eat it in the rain. And in the dark. And on a train. And in a car. And in a tree.
It is so good, so good you see!”
Emily Braddock Jones is a retired journalist and syndicated columnist who is seeking baby boomers willing to help with her new book “Who took my sandbox?”