The Hungover Gourmet


Mustard's on a Roll

It's pretty much a disgrace that National Mustard Day came and went with little or no fanfare.

It's no fault of The Hungover Gourmet, though. Almost brand new co-workers were subjected to a Nathan's hot dog and six-course-mustard tasting festival at lunchtime, and I even made Mrs. Nitrate and Co. go through the same test of fire after an evening of sucking back dollar Yuenglings at the local seafood restaurant.

SIDEBAR (can you tell I've been watching 'Murder One' reruns on A&E?): The bar in question used to be called Skippy Cilantro's, and before that it was called Barnaby's, which is another queer name. It now has yet another gay name: The Lighthouse. The first time I walked in I was expecting a flannel explosion and Freidkin's CRUSING playing on a big screen tv. Fortunately, little has changed since it was Skippy's, except for the fact that they now serve way too much seafood to survive around here. Which is a shame. That said they've got a wicked Friday night happy hour (aforementioned $1 Yuengling drafts being the standout), even though you can't get anywhere near the complimentary mussels and Buffalo wings thanks to the two HUGE dudes that come in and suck the comp buffet down with alarming speed. Actually, the reason we even like this place (aside from the $1 Yuenglings that seem to extend well past the happy hours and long into the night) is that they've employed some poor kid to stand outside in a lobster costume and wave at passing cars. People shout, wave, and (most definitely) shout insults. I've taken the digital camera for the last two Friday nights, desperately hoping to get a shot of me and Lobster Boy ( as we call him) in "action." No luck.

Anyway, back to the mustard and the lame excuse for a National Mustard Day that lasy Saturday was!

Blue skies, no humidity, not a cloud in sight. Couldn't have been a better day for a Mustard Parade. Heck, I'd have settled for a Mustard Dedication Ceremony, but there was none to be had. Instead, we had to settle for a night of drunken barbecue at Uncle Paulie's. That, as they say, is another story.

So, I wake up on National Mustard Day. No parade. No ceremonies. What's a guy to do? Well, I basically sat down and took the comments from the various mustard tastings and jotted them down for posterity. The results please...

NANCE'S SHARP & CREAMY: got the big "thumbs down" from just about every taster that cared to comment. The biggest complaint was that for something calling itself "sharp & creamy" it should be at least one of the two. Nance's was neither.

GULDEN'S ZESTY HONEY MUSTARD: We picked this as a bold departure from the "Yellow" mustard and mass market "Spicy Brown" mustards. Little did we know that this big name would hit such a home run. Despite the fact that the color of the mustard looks like it's gone bad, this baby adds a nice tang to a dog, though one taster thought it'd "probably taste better on a cheese dog." (Everybody's a frickin' critic!)

KOZIUSKO SPICY BROWN MUSTARD: We picked this one solely because the jar is shaped like a barrel and one of Midnight Oil's best songs has the same name – except for the "Spicy Brown Mustard" part. That wouldn't be very political or socially conscious now, would it? Anyway, this baby came out as cream of the crop from a consensus of both tasting groups. In a nutshell, it's spicy, a little creamy and made many tasters come back for seconds.

BEANO'S DELI MUSTARD WITH HORSERADISH BITS: I grabbed this one because the folks at Beano's have already come through with items like their Horseradish Sauce and Hoagie Dressing. Though not on the level of their other products, Beano's provoked a decided "kinda like it" vibe from our tasters.

INGELHOFFER'S STONE GROUND: A big fan favorite at our first tasting session, Ingelhoffer's drew raves for the seeds of flavor interspersed throughout the spoonfuls of mustard our tasters slapped on their dogs. Other tasters weren't quite so impressed, feeling that the fine folks at Ingelhoffer's had gone overboard in the spice department. (This is where I'd normally get into a dissertation about white and yellow mustard seeds versus brown mustard seeds, but 'Murder One' is almost on and I want to post some more crap on eBay!)

OLD GERMAN DUSSELDORF STYLE MUSTARD: This stared down at me from the shelf in its sleek, cylindrical bottle and I couldn't help but think about Nazi Youth. Don't ask me why, but I guess I've had Nazis on the brain recently. Who the hell knows why! In typical Nazi fashion, however, the taste of the mustard is overpowering, prompting more than one "man oh man" from our group of tasters. Some likened it to pouring "salsa on a dog" while everyone agreed that it distracted from the excellent flavor of the Nathan's dogs.

Ladies and gentlemen, mustard is the most traded spice in the world. Can't we treat it with a little more dignity? National Mustard Day was August me a favor and observe it next year!

This is the part where I'd normally put up some recipe from one of our many cookbooks. Unfortunately, everything we had involving mustard fell into the category of "lame" or "super lame." Frankly, 1 tablespoon of mustard does not a mustard recipe make. Instead, I offer up the following excellent sites, all of whom can offer more on the mustard front than this dopey little column!

The Mount Horeb Mustard Museum: the finest on-line source of mustards, mustard lore, recipes and much more!

The Mustard Place: got some chicken and some mustard? beef and mustard? Then dial these guys up and they'll help you make a food match with ingredients on hand!

Unofficial Colman's Mustard Page: this guy's convinced a "mustard paste" can help cure a cold. I dunno, but my Dad used to eat Vicks Vapor Rub when HE was sick, so who am I to say?! Great stuff, including dietary info and the upcoming "Mustard Memories" section.

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