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."
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
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 4th...do 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!
Mount Horeb Mustard Museum: the finest on-line
source of mustards, mustard lore, recipes and
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!
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.