Did you know that there is a National Mustard Day? It’s celebrated on the first of every August at the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, WI. Yes, there is a museum solely dedicated to mustard! But this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as mustard is one of the most universally loved condiments in the U.S. And while few of us can imagine some of our favorite American foods without it, the history of mustard begins elsewhere.
The world’s love affair with mustard first began in ancient Rome. In its earliest form, mustard was made by combining unfermented grape juice known as “must” with ground seeds of the sinapis (mustard) plant. The concoction was known as “must ardens” in Latin, which became “moutarde” in French and then eventually “mustard” in English.
As the Roman Empire expanded, methods for making mustard began to spread throughout Europe. As country after country fell in love with this delightful food dressing, several regional varieties based on local flavors and cuisines began popping up. One of the most famous, Dijon, which was developed in France, dates back to the 13th century.
A true testament to the popularity mustard continued to gain during the Elizabethan Era is a memorable line from Taming of the Shrew: “What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?” In Henry IV, Part II Falstaff also says, “His wit’s as thick as Tewkewbury Mustard.” And remember Mustardseed from A Midsummer Night’s Dreams? As you can see, Shakespeare loved mustard, and he managed to incorporate it into several of his plays!
Europe is not the only continent where mustard gained momentum as a favorite pairing. Thanks to Marco Polo, India, China and several other countries in Asia developed a fondness for this spicy condiment. While it was created in a similar manner to European varieties, Asian mustards gained a reputation for being significantly stronger as they are traditionally made from the seeds of the brown mustard plant.
Fast forwarding to today, mustard has become a pantry essential. Who doesn’t love a delicious mustard with their summer sausage and cheese? And speaking of which, is your pantry stocked? If not, head over to the Hickory Farms and order your Sweet Hot Mustard 3 Pack today.