Saturday, 6 February 2016


Let me begin with the villains. First, so-called French mustard which I say is so-called because I doubt it has ever been anywhere near France. Brown, slimy and sweet-tasting, it will often be brought to the table in a pub following a request for "French mustard".

Then there is the sweet American mustard. Just about acceptable on a bad hotdog if one wishes to eat one.

Next, pointlessly flavoured mustard. Whisky-flavoured mustard or, even worse, truffle-flavoured. A waste of good ingredients, one strong flavour overpowering the other.

Although I find English mustard far too fiery, I will give it cupboard room because some of my friends insist upon it as their mustard of choice and also because the powdered version works well for the purposes of dusting a joint of beef before cooking it. And I quite enjoy the ritual of making the mustard up with a teaspoon of powder and a teaspoon of water.

Wholegrain mustard is another matter: it is splendid exotic-tasting stuff and I like the way the mustard seeds dissolve in the mouth. My mother once cut her hand trying to force open one of those large grey jars of Pommeroy mustard which end up as pen holders or useful pots to put things in.

But best of all, and most versatile, is straightforward Dijon mustard. Milder and tastier than English, it is what I tend to eat with a sausage or roast beef. It also works well in a vinaigrette. Yum.

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