Hi, I'm Kent, and I'm a mustard addict...

Yes, I’m working on my entry for the next movie on my list, Transformers (which is coming along much quicker than the High Fidelity one), but before that, there’s something I need to get off my chest.

Hi, I’m Kent, and I’m a mustard addict.  I’ve been in denial about this for a long time, but Jennifer finally helped me realize that my addiction has reached a dangerous level.  It’s reached the point that I’ve become a danger not only to myself, but to others as well.  “How can that be?” you may ask.  It’s just mustard, right?  A freakin’ condiment.

True, mustard is just a condiment, and a tasty low-fat one at that.  The jars, however, are another story.  I’ll get to that in a second.  But first, a little history.  About a year ago, things had gotten out of hand.  Jennifer had always been gracious enough (and enough of an enabler) to give me my own shelf on the door of the fridge for my mustards.  But slowly they started to migrate into the fridge proper, taking up valuable real estate. Jennifer finally laid down the commandment:  “Yea, thou shalt have mustard.  But their number shall be no more than ten.” 

Ten?  I could do that, I thought.  But it was harder than I thought.  At the time, I had sixteen, so that meant getting rid of six.  Ugh.  I tried to convince Jennifer that yellow mustard and Dijon mustard shouldn’t count because she used those on a regular basis, and were therefore “ours,” rather than “mine.”  No go.  So I went through all of my mustards and pared them down to ten.  I did alright until I had to toss my Trader Joe’s Wasabi Mustard.  That was a tough one.  I had to have Jennifer actually toss it, because I couldn’t bear to do it myself.

Everything was fine until a couple of months ago.  One of the mustards in a glass jar fell off the shelf and it was only my lighting fast reflexes that helped me catch it.  That was good, because it saved me from cleaning up a mustard mess and grieving the loss of a friend.  It also taught me to make sure the glass ones are on the bottom row of the shelf.  I thought I’d averted disaster.

I was wrong.  A few weeks ago, the Nathan’s Deli Mustard was jostled loose and fell on Jennifer’s foot.  Sure it was only a plastic bottle, but it was a plastic bottle half-full of mustard.  That’s a pound and a half falling from five feet, landing square on Jennifer’s bare foot.  I felt bad.  I tried to reorganize the shelf so it wouldn’t happen again.  Luckily, it hasn’t, but I fear that one of these days, Jennifer is going to count these puppies and realize that they’ve started breeding again.

I just counted, and there are fourteen of them.  But we need them all, I swear.  To try and rationalize my addiction, I’ll list every mustard currently in our fridge, along with why it’s a necessary condiment.  I’ll even give you a picture. 

French’s Yellow Mustard – The classic.  Every single fridge in the United States needs a bottle of this inside somewhere.  If you don’t have one in your fridge, go get one and send me the bill… 

Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard – Another classic.  If there was a second mandatory mustard, this would be it.  For many, it’s the only mustard that goes on a hot dog.

French’s Dijon Mustard – For those fancy times when you need a subtler mustard, this works like a charm.  And don’t forget to use it in your vinaigrette.

Inglehoffer Stone Ground Mustard – If you want a mustard that’s, you know, MUSTARD, then a stone ground gives you that full bodied mustard taste without the tanginess of yellow mustard.

Beaver Sweet Hot Mustard – I wish I had this one as a kid.  It’s got a horseradish kick with some honey thrown in, giving a great savory/sweet taste that’s addictive.  I love it on almost everything, but my favorite is on a cracker with some good cheddar cheese, from Wisconsin of course.

Nathan’s Deli Style Mustard – If you’ve ever been to a Nathan’s hot dog stand, then you know this mustard.  It’s a brownish mustard with an interesting flavor – turmeric!  If I had to give this one up, I would, but a New Yorker might just beat the crap out of me just for thinking that.  Sabrett's has a really tasty one, too.

Archer Farms (Target brand) Lemon Dijon Mustard – Finding that perfect balance of lemon/Dijon isn’t as easy as you’d think, so I let the pros at Target figure it out for me.

Ty Ling Hot Mustard – I am NOT having an egg roll or a fried wonton without some Chinese hot mustard.  And no, they don’t give you enough when you get takeout.  If you need your sinuses cleared, this stuf’ll do the trick.
Grey Poupon Harvest Coarse Ground Mustard – Okay, this one is probably redundant, but I swear it tasted different than the Inglehoffer one.  It’s like saying if you’ve got one Merlot, you don’t need another one.

Terapin Ridge Farms Brown Sugar Pecan Mustard – This one’s giving the Sweet Hot Mustard a run for its money when it comes to the top spot on my list.  The molasses in the brown sugar gives the sweetness a fuller body and the pecans are a wonderful twist.  If you can find it, I urge you to try this one out.  You won’t regret it.

Archer Farms Brew Masters Mustard – Mustard and beer.  Could there be a more natural combination?

Slimme & Nunne Maple Peppercorn Mustard – I love mustard, maple syrup and pepper.  So put them all together and it’s a winner.  Then again, I love marshmallow, enchiladas and barbecue ribs.  Just kidding.  It’s an awesome mustard.

Terapin Ridge Blueberry Honey Mustard – This one Jennifer actually picked out.  It’s a specialty mustard, for sure, so it won’t go well with a hot dog or burger.  But with a really rich cheese and a nice slice of a baguette, it’ll make you a fast fan.

Bucky Badger Honey Mustard Pretzel Dip – More sweet than hot, they’re not kidding when they say it goes great with pretzels.  If you’re sitting on the couch, watching a football game with a jar of this and a bag of pretzel sticks, I envy you.

I have to say, though, it’s not all my fault.  Jennifer has to take some accountability for the mustard situation.  When we went to her hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, last summer, she said, “Sweetie, did you know that the National Mustard Museum is just outside of Madison?”  No, I did not.  It’s like telling a drug addict, “Did you know there’s a Meth-R-Us twenty minutes out of where we’re going?”  And to top it all off, they let you taste ANY of the over 500 mustards they have in the store.  When we were there, we picked up the Brown Sugar Pecan, the Maple Peppercorn, the Blueberry Honey and the Bucky Badger.  So I had my ten before we went to Madison.  I was just helping support a national treasure of a museum by getting those four.  It was my civic duty and I was proud to do it.

If you want to see the mustards in their natural habitat, here you go…

Not twenty minutes after I took this picture, the Nathan’s took a dive again – this time at my feet.  Luckily, it fell in front of my toes, with no harm done.  Also luckily, Jennifer didn’t notice, or I’d be going through these guys right now, trying to figure out which five have to go…

Uh oh.  It just fell again.  This time, tumbling right in front of Jennifer.  Her feet were safe, but I think I’m in trouble…

Aw, crap.  In preparing dinner this evening, I was getting something from another shelf in the fridge when I spotted it.  Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard.  You know, the “Pardon me…” kind.  The normal Grey Poupon.  Damn, that’s fifteen.  What am I going to do?  Which five do I cut, now?

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