Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Measuring Mustard Muddle

English mustard that is.

The Sri Lankan in me is good with and used to condiments. No meal is complete unless it's accompanied by something that tastes of chilli and rarely is a meal classed as finished until I've poked a bit of wood between every gap I can find in my teeth and made a lot of sucking noises.

Tomato sauce, brown sauce, mild mustard and the like all have their uses. But, if it doesn't have that kick to it then it won't be a staple of my diet. And mustard is a a recognised supplier of that kick that we all crave. Not your mild mannered French variety, nor the mild mannered French's variety, I mean good old English mustard, the bright yellow stuff that makes so many good things taste even better.

Yet it's an enigma for me too. I love its taste and you'll find me adding it to any number of bland but good meats. Roast beef, ham, sausages and even scotch eggs all taste so much more special with a dollop of the bright yellow. But I can never, even now at my ripe old age, gauge the correct amount to add to a dish. This isn't such an issue when there's a pile of it on the side of a plate and I can add to each mouthful as I go. Ongoing fine tuning can be done and things usually turn out quite nice.

No, it's sandwich making that foxes me. I'm sure it's a scene you're familiar with and a conundrum that you've had to deal with many a time too. There we all are, making a nice meat sandwich, it can be any type of meat or perhaps a fish based one if you're that way inclined. Then, when we get to the adding English mustard part of the assembly process, the spoon of mustard gets applied.

If too little mustard is used there may as well be no mustard at all. It just adds a vague mustardey aroma and the mildest of tastes, useless really. But the line at which the correct dose is measured is a thin one, hard to find and therefore usually marched straight over. That's when the problems can arise. As we bite into the sandwich the mustard just goes up the nasal passage and hits the back of the throat, that bottom of the nose area, the part where bogeys land when you sniff really hard.

It's a tear inducing feeling, as if you might gag or not make it through to the other side. Every time it happens I feel sympathy for chaps who have been affected by mustard gas, though I'm unsure if it's the same sort of mustard or even if it's made by Colemans. Perhaps the English mustard gas is much stronger than other nations' attempts and the American version tastes exactly like the cheese gas that they also do. I know not and can only speculate.

Either way, the mystery of using just enough Emglish mustard remains one of life's eternal quandaries.

Just a thought.


Jerry said...

Can't say, never really took to mustard.

It's always been the strange semi transparent bottle in the fridge with weird yellow stuff in it.

To be looked at in wonderment, never to be consumed.

Anonymous said...

Ha, I am a sandwich king! As I burn too much calories a day I have to put in as much. So day begins with a cereal bowl with a half a litre of milk, bunch of fruits and a hefty sandwich all triple decked up with salami, cheese and cheese, if Mom or Miss Fukuoka is near by, then a piece of green too. Then I drink the other half of the litre of milk!

But mustard is no no! I burp like koi (do they?) But I have no trouble with wasabi!!
How about a stealth burping lesson!

santhoshi said...

Its a similar scene for me with wasabi- always manage to overdo it and feel that burn...