Posted by: thewoobdog | April 10, 2007

Mustard

I’m sitting here eating Gardetto’s Deli-Style Mustard Pretzel Mix and thinking about the role of mustard in our society.  You know those little bitty cocktail weenies in the dark brown sauce that people make for random social occasions?  My Aunt (actually great-aunt) Charlotte used to make those when I was a kid (she also made really good, really sweet tea, like you can’t find in restaurants), and I was completely in awe of her entertaining abilities.  [Going to her house was this incredibly fun and exciting experience because she was a librarian for the public schools, and so she had the absolute best collection of books that you would never see anywhere else – I need to go back to her house and read those… What a flashback.  I still love going to her house.]

Anyway, to return to my original point (that point for which this blog is named): so my Aunt Charlotte was quite the hostess, and every Halloween she made these cocktail weenies (she also dressed up like a really gruesome, but oddly friendly, witch, if I remember right), and I adored those cocktail weenies (much like my friend Jonathan, who begged one of our other friends to please have cocktail weenies at their formal evening wedding.  Yeah.).  I’m over the cocktail weenie thing now, but I remember my shock when I found out (in my teens) how those weenies were made.  Are you ready?  It’s like a magic trick – anyone who doesn’t already know how it’s done will be as surprised as I was.  Ok, the question of the ages – how are cocktail weenies in that yummy brown sauce made?  Well, obviously you have to have weenies, but we’ll set that aside for now.  The sauce is the amazing part – it’s made of (wait for it….) equal parts grape jelly and mustard.  Just normal, innocuous yellow mustard.  Mixed with grape jelly.  And it actually tastes good.

Another amazing culinary experience?  My grandmother’s macaroni and cheese.  It’s the best.  macaroni and cheese.  EVER.  Ask Ariel (uh, that’s airyspirit to you guys).  What’s the secret ingredient?  A pinch of dry mustard.

Mustard rocks.  It’s in the Bible.  How many everyday cooking ingredients actually made it into parables in the Bible?  Very few, people, very few.  (Yeah, I know they mention all sorts of spices and whatnot, but most of those didn’t make it into parables spoken by the Son of God, folks). 

I could expound upon the virtues of mustard for much longer (and possibly will, in a later blog – we’ll see), but I do actually have a job and these people keep calling me, so I guess I’d better get on that (especially seeing as how it’s tax season and that’s what I do, so… yeah…).  I leave you with this quote from another famous literary master:

‘Very true,’ said the Duchess:  ‘flamingoes and mustard both bite.  And the moral of that is – “Birds of a feather flock together.”‘ 

‘Only mustard isn’t a bird,’ Alice remarked.

‘Right, as usual,’ said the Duchess:  ‘what a clear way you have of putting things!’

‘It’s a mineral, I THINK,’ said Alice.

‘Of course it is,’ said the Duchess, who seemed ready to agree to everything that Alice said; ‘there’s a large mustard-mine near here.  And the moral of that is – “The more there is of mine, the less there is of yours.”‘

‘Oh, I know!’ exclaimed Alice, who had not attended to this last remark, ‘it’s a vegetable.  It doesn’t look like one, but it is.’

‘I quite agree with you,’ said the Duchess; ‘and the moral of that is – “Be what you would seem to be” – or if you’d like it put more simply – “Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.”‘

– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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