Wondering exactly what kind of condiment gets its own celebration? It’s Mustard Day!
History of Mustard Day
Mustard Day was founded on a whim by Jill Sengstock in 1988. It was only a few years before the day changed hands to the National Mustard Museum in 1991. The aim of the day is rather self-explanatory: to celebrate and honor one of the world’s most popular condiments!
From the Dijon variety to English Mustard, or a liberal helping on an All-American hotdog, this day is the perfect chance to voice a love (without looking a bit odd) for this most favorite flavor and condiment.
Mustard itself is believed to be over 5000 years old, with some people thinking that it originated in India when it was first cultivated in 3000 BC. Others, however, believe that it may have started in Ancient Egypt and then moved into Greece who then passed it on to the Romans.
After that, it was brought over to Britain by the Romans. They seem to have been the first to use it as a condiment, as well as a pickling spice, during the Roman Empire. It wasn’t until the 19th century, however, that the British became the finest mustard millers in the world.
In addition to taking it to Britain, the Romans also have been given credit for taking mustard to Northern France, where monks took on the job of cultivating it. In fact, it is believed that mustard actually got its name from the word “Mosto”, which was a grape wine that was mixed with ground mustard seeds.
The 13th century was the time when prepared mustard became something closer to what people know it to be today. Its use was made particularly popular by Pope John XXII who actually created a position for his nephew, titled the “Grand Mustard-Maker to the Pope”.
The yellow mustard that most Americans tend to put on their hot dogs was introduced in 1904. Some people say it was introduced in Rochester, New York, while others report it was at the St. Louis World’s Fair. But either way, it became super popular from that time on!
Most people who celebrate it think that this day cuts the mustard! (Pun very much intended).
How to Celebrate Mustard Day
The celebration of Mustard Day can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and can happen at home, at a friend’s house, or even out at a restaurant! From delicious foods to fun activities, this day brings celebration and enjoyment through ideas such as these:
Try Different Kinds of Mustard
Although many people’s experience with mustard is limited, this culinary delight actually has a significant number of varieties and flavors. Try these:
- Dijon Mustard. Coming from the city in France where it got its name, Dijon mustard might be used on a sandwich or could be added to a vinaigrette dressing or using in a sauce in cooking. It is slightly creamy, pale yellow, and has a sharp, tangy flavor with some spicy kick.
- English Mustard. A version of yellow mustard that is different from the American yellow mustard, this one is way stronger. People who apply it expecting it to taste like American mustard will likely be in for a super hot and spicy surprise!
- Chinese Hot Mustard. This condiment can either be bought premade or mixed up at home using dry mustard powder with water. The chemical reaction between the two creates a super sharp, super spicy flavor that is used to add taste to meats or appetizers.
- Whole Grain Mustard. This interesting and unique mustard mashes the mustard seeds together but doesn’t completely crush them, leaving a grainy, coarse type of paste. It is often made using wine, with brown and black seeds instead of the yellow ones, leaving it to pack quite the spicy punch!
Cook with Mustard
Adding mustard to the culinary repertoire can create a whole plethora of new flavors that are pleasing to the palette! Try out these interesting recipes in honor of Mustard Day:
- Blackberry and Mustard Jam. This sweet and spicy treat is easy to mix up using premade jam and blending it with mustard. Serve on crackers, toast or other breads to provide a unique flavor.
- Honey Mustard Sauce with Soft Pretzel Bites. A fun twist on an old classic, pretzels dipped into any type of mustard are great, but honey mustard adds a sweetness that can’t be beat.
- Dijon Mustard Salad Dressing. This is a delicious basic in the kitchen that can be easily made at home using a blend of olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice and salt. For a sweeter version, try adding a bit of maple syrup to the mix. Serve over dark salad greens.
- Deviled Eggs. This recipe might be called deviled, but it tastes like heaven! Mix the scooped out centers of hard boiled eggs and combine with mustard, mayonnaise, a bit of vinegar and some salt and pepper to taste. Fill the egg white bases up with the concoction and serve chilled.
Visit the Mustard Museum
Located in Middletown, Wisconsin, the Mustard Museum boasts the largest collection of mustard and mustard memorabilia in the world. The museum was started in 1992 when the founder opened the museum that would become one of the most popular attractions in the state. In fact, it has been featured by Oprah Winfrey, Jeopardy, and countless other television shows.
Admission is actually free (though they do take donations) so anyone can come to see the displays of more than 6000 different mustards from all 50 states as well as over 70 countries.
On Mustard Day, the museum hosts a festival that includes special sampling as well as entertainment, music, games and various activities for the family. Some of the games include mustard bowling, mustard ring toss and even mustard painting. As it turns out, a museum about Mustard is almost as popular as a day dedicated to Mustard!
Try Mustard Beer
That’s right. This isn’t an error in typing or proofreading. This is actually a product that has been invented and marketed: it’s Mustard Beer.
In 2020, Oskar Blue and French’s Mustard in the United States paired up to offer Mustard Beer. With a slightly pungent smell, the beer was reported to have notes of citrus and coriander, with a very slight hint of actual mustard. It was a pale ale that many people like, even though it seems like an odd combination.
Admittedly, the brew was a one-off run that was created especially for Mustard Day in 2020, but there’s always the possibility that the companies will pair up again and bring it back!
It’s time to celebrate and enjoy all of the spiciness that Mustard Day can bring!