Saturday, April 17, 2010
A Mustard by Any Other Name
The Wicked Cranberry origin story #1.
I really like condiments: Mustards, hot sauces, A1, malt vinegar, Worceshire. You name it, I like it on something. I have been known, once, in a moment of extreme desperation, to put Grey Poupon on a Swedish Fish. (It was a rash and bold move, but not as much of a poor choice as one might think).
When I was little, I put ketchup on everything: turkey, rice and macaroni and cheese. In some circles I was known as the Ketchup Kid. I have since learned that putting ketchup on turkey is wicked gross. In high school, I took a big step and tried mixing up balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard for a delicious, if pungent salad dressing. In college, I carried bottles of Cholula and Worceshshire sauces in my knapsack to dress up the dining hall food. (Man, did I get funny looks pulling them out of my pack). And now, at any given time, there are about eight (yup, 8!) different kinds of mustard in my fridge. (Can you find all five in the picture?) One for hot dogs, one for burgers, one for sandwiches, several for sausages, and that doesn't include the miniature sample packs I've acquired over the last year (read: pretzel dippers). Whateva, I do what I want.
There was a big day in my life a few years ago, a day that knocked poor Ketchup down a peg or two or six. I met Brown Sauce. Malt Vinegar and I had a brief and tangy affair when I went to London for two weeks in high school. Brown sauce was there, like a dutiful wingman, present, but silent, but I only had eyes for vinegar. Then, when I moved to DC, I ran into Brown Sauce at a Irish bar in Alexandria and spent the whole night catching up over some shepherd's pie. I was smitten.
Thses early flavoring experiments and mistakes, we're like my first baby steps towards manipulating flavors and really cooking. For instance, I don't like Frank's Red Hot on pepperoni pizza, but if I mix one part Red Hot and two parts Worcestershire sauce, it an amazing pizza/bread stick dipper. And tuna fish always tastes better with a little dijon mustard thrown in. And if you wanna get a little weird, Wheat Thins taste really good dipped in cocktail sauce. Snackerrific!
These days, I've outgrown most of my craziest experiments, (I do put brown sauce on my Annie's shells and cheese, which Boyfriend tells me is gross), but sometimes I totally feel like Jennifer Connelly in the final scene of Labyrinth, when she is looking all sad and lonely, putting away her childish things, and all of a sudden Ludo is in the mirror, and Hoggle is all: "Should you need us." And it is comforting to know that I can still rely on my sauces on those days when I just can't face cooking anything particularly complicated. On those days, I just wanna open up my fridge and say, "every now and again in my life, for no reason at all, I need you. I need all of you." Then it's a party.