Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The History of Prepared Mustard.

Mustard, Shell, Spice, Sharp, Food, Eat I am one of the first to admit that I really don't like mustard or at least that bright yellow stuff out of the squeeze bottle you put on hot dogs and such.  Didn't like it growing up and still don't like it but I have found a brand I don't mind.

Mustard is actually a member of the Brassica family which includes cabbage, kale, Brussel sprouts, and horseradish.  The seeds are cracked to open up the flavor and mixed with liquids to create the condiment known as prepared mustard.

The preparation and use of prepared mustard can be traced back to Roman times where they mixed the cracked seeds with fermented wine or vinegar to produce something similar to what we use today.  As the Romans expanded their empire, they took the seeds to Gaul where they planted them in vineyards, next to the grapes.  Pretty soon, the use of this condiment became quite popular

The Romans and Greeks used prepared mustard for more than eating.  They believed it could cure scorpion stings, get rid of aches and pains, clearing sinuses, eliminating toothaches and help you eat less.  Even today, mustard is advertised to help with certain conditions.

There are records indicating monks in French monasteries raised the seed and made mustard to sell.  The monks made it by mixing the ground seeds with unfermented wine known as must creating mustum Ardens  or as later became mustard.

Other records show that mustard was sold and used in Paris by the 13th century.  In addition, Dijon France became known as the center of mustard production which was nice because the Pope is said to have loved mustard so much, he created the position of Grand Master Maker to the Pope and bestowed the office to his nephew in Dijon.  Mustard making became so important to Dijon, that a law in 1634 was passed allowing only the men of Dijon the right to make mustard.

Dijon mustard as a type of mustard didn't come into existence until someone took and replaced regular vinegar with the acidic juice of unripe grapes in the 1850's.  Now that Dijon mustard is recognized as a separate type of mustard, it can be made anywhere in the world.

Of course, King Louis XI loved mustard so much, he always traveled with a pot of it so if he stopped and visited someone and they didn't have any, he could still enjoy the meal properly.  Then in the 1770's, Maurice Grey and Antoine Poupon collaborated to create their famous Grey and Poupon mustard in their store in Dijon France.  In case you wonder, Mr Grey provided the recipe and Mr Poupon, the money.  Their original store is still in downtown Dijon and their product can still be found in stores.  You might know this brand of mustard from some television commercials that aired in the past.

It is said that Benjamin Franklin discovered mustard when he was ambassador to France and brought it back to the colonies when he returned.  In 1814, Jeremiah Coleman founded Coleman's mustard.  He developed a method to grind mustard seeds into a dry powder that kept the flavor from getting too hot due to the seed's oil.  This lead to England becoming the center for milling mustard seeds into a powder and to the powder being used in the food industry.  This lead to him becoming the Queen's official Mustard Maker in 1866.

The common yellow mustard that most of us are familiar with, was created by the French brothers and premiered at the1904 Saint Louis World's Fair where it was served with hot dogs.  They created this milder version because they felt the current mustards had too strong a flavor to suit Americans. They originally called it "Cream Salad Mustard" but became known as American mustard.  The reason American mustard is a bright yellow color is due to the turmeric added to the recipe.

There are several types of mustard.  We have the yellow found mostly in the United States, Dijon which is now made with white wine instead of unripe grape juice and can be made anywhere but is still considered the classic French mustard.  Spicy brown uses a coarser ground seed than many other types of mustard , has more heat and a deeper flavor and is used at deli's quite often.  There are wine mustards made with White Burgundy, Pinot Noir, or Champagne, very specific wines and each adds a different flavor to the mustard.  There are a serious of coarse mustards such as stone ground, creole, etc to provide a mustard with deep flavor.

As far as international mustards go, English mustard looks similar to American but it has way more bite, German mustard is said to have more heat than American mustard, Chinese mustard is so hot, you only need a little bit of it or you'll clean your sinuses out.  You can also find flavored mustards like honey mustard, Habanero mustard and so many other types.

I hope you found this interesting.  I discovered a local mustard maker, Moostards,  who makes a course ground flavored mustard I really like.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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