As Queen of Labor Day I have decreed that everyone lay around in their pajamas all day (I am leading by example) and eat their favorite foods. I just finished my mustard sandwich.
That’s right, the Carb Nazi is off duty today and I’m having TWO, count them, two slices of squishy white bread with great beautiful globs of mustard (both slices) and salami, Oh, salami! With swiss cheese and spinach thrown in out of habit. But it’s really about the mustard. Even my kids gape when they see me loading it on this one.
I’m kind of a blue-collar (that might be yellow-collar) mustard lover; sure I dig all those $9-a-jar kinds in multiple shades of brown with seeds and specks and stuff, but the best mustard is the same wonderful yellow as a Lego, or Pikachu, or (trying to think of something grown-up)…the old pre-1971 yield signs. I miss those yield signs. Thank God mustard didn’t change.
Mustard’s marvelous canary color amazingly does occur in nature. Turmeric gives the other five ingredients (vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, paprika) their brilliance. This color makes your pronto pup glow in the twilight — or broad daylight for that matter — at the State Fair. Btw, the best places to buy corn dogs are the ones that actually dip your dog in a bucket of mustard, all the way to the stick, before laying it in a frilled paper boat. I also ask for extra packets too.
In fact, this is why God invented State Fair pronto pups: as a vehicle for mustard. It may be why arena sporting events were invented, as well. Fourth of July, for that matter. All to highlight the glorious gastronomic wonders of my favorite food, which some people call a condiment, mustard.
I first discovered this trend of Inventions Supporting the Enjoyment of Mustard when I was growing up in Memphis, Tennessee. Less than a mile from the suburb where I lived an entire forest was razed for the new mall, which was anchored not by the Goldsmiths department store (where I later bought my wedding dress), but in fact by the tiny 8×12 Hot Sam’s pretzel place. Is there anything in the world better than a fat, hot, salty pretzel happily drowned with mustard? I think not.
My favorite movie line involving mustard is in the Albert Finney version of Scrooge, where Ebeneezer is visited by his dead partner Jacob Marley’s ghost. Scrooge tries to explain Marley away by saying he’s a hallucination: “That’s what you are. A bit of undigested beef, or a blob of mustard, or an old potato.” Everyone in my family quotes this one to me, in that creepy-whiney little Scrooge voice.
I tend to have several giant yellow plastic squeeze bottles of mustard in my fridge at any given time. I have this fear of running out of mustard, which would be almost worse than running out of toilet paper (I keep lots of that on hand, too). It’s like I’ll be in the grocery, see those beautiful yellow rows, and think, “We may be almost out, who can tell with those opaque containers?” and I’ll pick one up just in case. My family no longer comments on this phenomenon, they just shove the other two bottles over and make room. I think the mustards like to be together.
Oh, would someone please post a mustard haiku on your own blog, or in the comments? I looked on the intarwebs but couldn’t find a good one. Consider this post unfinished until it has a mustard haiku.
How could anything be finished without a mustard haiku?
Image credit: i. m. bitter on Flickr