Mustard has been around since Antony first laid eyes on Cleopatra and Brutus had a stab at Caesar. Mustard seeds are even mentioned in the Bible, crushed by ancient Egyptians and used as a condiment on Nubian hot dogs.
The supermarket aisle has replaced the Nile as a mustard source. Here's a guide to aid your ultimate sandwich fulfilment.
Dijon is the granddaddy of all mustards. Good Dijon has a clean, sharp taste - a world away from the sweet mucky muck found in Subway squeeze bottles. It's killer with beef, enhancing the meat's flavour rather than beating it into submission.
Maille produces some damn fine Dijon, which can be found by the jar at most supermarkets.
One bread-knife swipe of wholegrain adds instant texture and oomph to the most anaemic of ham sammies. It's also nigh-impossible to coat a fillet of beef with too much grainy goodness before whacking it in the oven. Spatula it on a roast plus some ground cardamom and coriander seed for extra fragrance.
Colman's wholegrain is always up for a good time if you track it down (try one of those British lolly shops that also sell sausages in cans). You can also make your own by whizzing yellow and brown mustard seeds together with oil, vermouth, wine and any other botanicals that take your fancy, really.
If someone serves you a pork pie without English mustard on the side, stand up and respectfully leave the room, never to return. It is imperative the soft and fatty terrine-like pie has a big kick of nostril-flaring heat to make it sing. It's also an essential ingredient in Welsh rarebit, the glorified cheese-on-toast so beloved by British drunks.
English mustard is traditionally sold in powder form (Colman's is again the go-to brand), which is mixed together with water to form a paste. You can also substitute cider for water and achieve delicious results.
Tell a Frenchman this qualifies as proper mustard and he'll give you the same glare they reserve for British backpackers. Tell an American baseball fan this ISN'T mustard and he'll make the same face as if you were explaining the rules of cricket. It's kind of funny that the best-selling American mustard brand is French's.
Also known as yellow mustard, this is the stuff squiggled on hot dogs and splodged on burgers in every US state. Do you want to use that $100 chablis and truffle mustard on your frankfurt roll? Of course not. That would be a waste of good mustard and a good weiner. American mustard is sweet, inoffensive and one-dimensional - a bit like Eddie Murphy films of the last 20 years.
Best for wurst. There's no defining style of German mustard like there is for English or American. German mustards range from coarse to smooth and horseradish-hot to butter-chicken-mild. Their main purpose in life is to accompany German sausages.
A good idea is to match different mustards with different snags. A hot German mustard such as Thomy's Scharfer Senf will complement a milder sausage like weisswurst.
Alternatively, try Handlmaier's Sweet Bavarian Mustard with a spicy snorker like Thuringer bratwurst.
Of course, you could always just bake some soft pretzels and dip them in any German mustard going.
Also known has deli mustard, the most popular brand of spicy brown is produced by Gulden's in the US. The spiciness and brown colour are courtesy of brown mustard seeds, which have greater kick than the yellow variety.
Spicy brown is less common here than in the US. If you want to try some of this course, vinegar-heavy delight you'll most likely have to book a ticket to New York or order it online. Doing so is totally worth the effort. You'll never want to eat a pastrami on rye without it.
- What's your favourite mustard?
- Good Food