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For the Love of Mustard

Mustard is like ketchup because you either like it or hate it and use it or don’t use it. I am not sure which is more popular mustard or ketchup but  I know there are people who like to make sandwiches or burgers and make a mix of mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise.

Usually, when people mention mustard they are talking about the prepared kind of spreadable mustard. However, basically the mustard is a plant. It is a close relative of such well-known vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and turnips. It’s roots go way back to ancient Egypt where the Pharaohs filled their tombs with mustard seeds to take with them to the afterlife. It was the Romans who first ground the seeds and made them into a paste to which they added wine or vinegar.  The French monks mixed the ground seeds with must or unfermented wine and this gave the idea of the word mustard. tI comes from the Latin mustum ardens roughly translated as burning wine.

The Greeks and Romans used mustard seeds for medicine. Pythagoras made a poultice out of mustard seeds as a cure for scorpion stings. Hippocrates loved mustard paste because it seemed to be a great remedy for soothing pains and aches. It was used by ancient Roman physicians to stop toothache pain. Mustard has been used over the years as a weight-loss supplement,  a suppressant for asthma, for clearing the sinuses and for frostbite prevention. Other cures have been added to the long list mustard can be used for. If you find that mustard can help you with what ails you go for it because a natural remedy is always better than a chemical one.

The recipe for Dijon mustard began with the use of the acidic juice of unripe grapes instead of vinegar. Dijon mustard is now famous all over the world. As mustard became more popular as a condiment King Louis XI wouldn’t travel anywhere without a pot of mustard.

We now have many different kinds of mustard such as the American favorite yellow mustard, English mustard, French mustard that is less spicy than the English variant, Bavarian sweet mustard, Italian fruit mustard, Midwestern beer mustard, Creole mustard, and many different German mustards. Finally, the chic mustard Grey Poupon came along.

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Southern Wisconsin is home to the National Mustard Museum which has over 5566 jars, bottles, and tubes from all of the 50 states and over 70 countries. Hey, it had to happen. After all, baseball is still America’s favorite pastime and they do keep selling hot dogs at every game which require a dose of mustard.

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