With the great American tradition of Superbowl Sunday approaching, the heathens started contemplating how we could make the traditional tailgate fare “Jewish”. This proved to be somewhat challenging. I believe Gordon will be gracing the blog with bagel dogs, which gave me the idea to make homemade mustard, because what good bagel dogs need is some good mustard. It is actually a pretty simple task, and the end result is far superior to any store-bought mustard you can buy. Also given the long running debate over whether mayonnaise is goyisha food, it seems pretty well established that mustard is a perfectly acceptable Jewish condiment. While I can’t confirm it, many of the major western brands of mustard have suspiciously Jewish sounding names, Guldens, Plochmans, Heinz and Colman (who owned Frenchs for a long period). Also, the spicier, coarser, style is a staple in Jewish delis, which is probably how it came to be known as deli mustard. Gordon has done several posts on deli meats that he has piled on rye and slather mustard on, including pastrami, liverwurst and of course tongue. Now the tradition of Jews eating tongue with mustard goes all the way back to Genesis, when Abraham is visited by three men and serves them bread, a calf, cottage cheese and milk (along with a variety of other bizzaro rules, the stuff kashrut is based on doesn’t appear until later, in Leviticus) Additionally, Abraham had just circumcised himself because God told him to, so the man was obviously not thinking clearly. The men eat the food and tell Abraham that his 99 year old wife Sarah will soon have a son (Issac), whom he later offers as a sacrifice. Further along in the story it becomes clear these men were angels (surprise, surprise) and the Talmudic scholar Rashi determined that Abraham actually served them tongue and mustard, which he decided was the food of angels. Two of these same angles, later that day head on over to Sodom and Gomorrah, so it might have been the spicy mustard that got them all riled up… but the point of all that is that Jews have been serving mustard with their deli meat since they became Jews.
Making your own mustard really boils down to your own personal tastes and you should not be afraid to experiment until you come up with a mixture that is right for you. Really all you need is mustard seeds and some kind of liquid. Other handy things might include vinegar, powdered mustard, wine, beer, honey or spices. If you really want your mustard to have that bright yellow color, turmeric is necessary. Keep in mind that the darker the mustard seeds the hotter/spicier they are. I like to use a mix of both brown and yellow, and for this batch used half white wine vinegar and half pale ale beer. Soak your seed in the liquid (just enough liquid to submerge all the seeds) overnight and then blend in a food processor or blender until it has achieved the consistency you want. If you want a smoother paste use powdered mustard (also know as mustard flour) and add the seeds for texture. If you get really into making mustard, mustard seeds can usually be purchased at low prices in bulk at Indian groceries.
I usually don’t get that into NFL football (I’m an NCAA gal) but this year I’ll be cheering for the Saints, just because I love New Orleans. I hope you enjoy the game (and the commercials) and have some deliciously bad for you food to put some mustard on.