After black pepper, our most popular spice is mustard. No, that’s not a misprint. Apparently we are eating a lot more hot dogs than we admit, and with all that nuclear-yellow goo we slather on, more turmeric than we realize. But as we’ve discovered only in recent decades, there’s a lot more to mustard than that.

First, though, the grim news: this country, Saskatchewan in particular, is the world’s leading exporter of mustard seed. But when was the last time you heard of a brand of prepared mustard made next to the fields where it grows? You didn’t, because in keeping with the Canuck reputation as a primary resource producer with a mortal fear of adding value, we seem content to buy back our mustard from French and German producers in the form of expensive little jars—just the way Big Condiment likes it.

The word “mustard” comes down to us from Rome, where its use became somewhat universal. Mustus ardens is Latin for “burning must,” which highlights the Roman practice of activating the fiery flavour by grinding the seeds and soaking in must, or unfermented grape juice. Even back then there were a million ways to jazz it up; Marcus Gavius Apicius, who may or may not have been the world’s first food blogger, documented a recipe that also included ground pine nuts and almonds.

The fact is that making mustard—or “preparing” it, as we choose to call it—is extremely easy and subject to endless enhancements. It’s for that reason that, as barbecue season begins in earnest, home chefs would be well served to strive for a signature style that will please themselves and impress their guests—all while saving money and eliminating the need for seeds to cross the Atlantic twice. But mustard-making has not become a thing for us, and I’m as …read more

Source:: Calgary Herald

      

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