I recently discovered that time travel is possible thru 3 simple ingredients. White bread, cheddar and Gulden’s mustard. It’s true. To be honest, I hadn’t thought about spicy mustard in years. This seems ludicrous, I know, but sometimes, when you are the preparer of comfort foods for lots and lots of people outside of your own family, you don’t get the luxury of thinking about what food you find comforting. Sometimes comfort isn’t necessarily eating something physically comforting or nourishing, but the place that food and the scent takes you. Now, I will take you with me on the whirlwind of travel that one singular bite took me on!
That one bite, thin slices of white bread, one slice cheddar and thick smears of Gulden’s mustard, sent me back to the land of Spanish moss, magical houses and loose burgers. Mustard and I have had many adventures. Historically, my brother once coated my glorious, oh so 90’s, all white outfit with mustard before I was heading to the roller skating rink for a party. Mom knew I loved mustard and it was always on my sandwiches and one day at after school dance class, when I got my coveted one soda (Root Beer) I somehow got mustard on my leotard which made me scramble to clean it which made me knock over my soda and then I sat in a puddle of of soda, frozen with shame, unsure of what to do but CONFIDENT I was ruining the floors. (Some people have dumb thumbs. I have dumb feet. You can’t teach me to dance or turn a cartwheel, it is impossible.) One time I had to march in a Christmas parade as a JV cheerleader and you had to be there at an ungodly hour. For some reason, I had stashed mustard packets in my underwear drawer-no I don’t know WHY and when it was time to get dressed for the parade and 4 a.m. my drawer and drawers were ALL mustardy. Given that I was already annoying the world by needing a ride to town that early on a Saturday I stole some of mom’s old underwear thinking this would work and I could fix the mustard situation later. Of course it was cold, it was December, and we had pom poms and cheers to do the whole route of the parade and we hit that first block and somehow the underwear were at my ankles. I had to just step out and keep going. It was horrific. AND mustard stains. Forever. But Brooksville had the most beautiful library and behind a street of incredible old homes and for a brief time my best friend, Bianca lived in one, and that house had a true secret passageway and her dad taught me to eat fresh popped popcorn dipped in spicy mustard. Coney Island was our favorite restaurant to visit if we were going to Rainbow Roller Land or Roger’s Christmas House. No pictures could ever do Roger’s justice. Rambling old houses stuffed to the gills with themed Christmas rooms, unusual mannequins and thousand year old candy. It was true Florida. But Coney’s loose burgers still make my mouth water, though I haven’t had one in at least a decade. We lived in a neighborhood full of moss and retirees whom I befriended and one neighbor around the bend had a talking parrot and a never-ending supply of hard pretzels to be dipped in mustard AND she was missing fingers because her husband backed over them with a riding mower which somehow ended up being Sears department store’s fault and they got enough money to buy a talking parrot which I thought FASCINATING. Aunt Cec used to make the murkiest mustard pickles and I would eat them till my sinuses were clear like crystal and my mouth burnt from all the mustard. We also used to attend the Rattlesnake Festival where you could purchase skewered snake to dip in BBQ or Mustard.
All that blew through my head in one bite. It was remarkable. And then I felt like a fool for having forgotten about something so delicious for so long. It just adds the perfect pop of piquancy to most bites. And weirdly, August 5th is National Mustard day and August 6th is Aunt Cec’s birthday and so it seemed an auspicious bit of time travel. Incidentally, this happened at work early Friday and then Saturday I was bewilderingly exhausted and slept ALL DAY, which you can ask my children never happens. I am in the 4 hours of sleep is great category, so apparently time travel and tesseracting are quite hard on one.
Mustard has been one of the most widely grown and used spices in the world for many centuries. It is believed to have originated in Ancient Egypt. The Greeks used Mustard as a medicine and a spice. The Romans emulated the Greeks using it as both food and medicine as well, ascribing it as a cure for anything from hysteria to snakebite to bubonic plague. Hmmm. I don’t think mustard works on my hysteria. BUT here is a link if you want to try and make your own mustard to cure some plagues https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/best-mustard-ever-recipe-1948184 !
August is a weird month. Historically it is full of oddities and sad things, it used to also feature back to school but who knows what that looks like now. Here in NC we are getting ready to joyously welcome a tropical storm and get ready for Hurricane Season, which I am beginning to suspect is more like the Weather Channel got wise to Hallmark and all it’s made up holidays and decided to invent a “season” to sell more ads and bottled water and batteries. Just trying to keep conspiracy theories classy!
August 1, 1944 – Anne Frank penned her last entry into her diary. “[I] keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would like to be, and what I could be, if…there weren’t any other people living in the world.” What a statement. I am sure I am not the only one who thinks that thought often and sadly it seems to be very true once again.
It is definitely safest to be in the presence of the dog or a donkey. Very few troubles seem to arise, as far as a personality conflict. Apricot has taken to playing hide and seek and she was cracking me up in the flowers. The long days mean long shadows, spectacular moons, faded roses and tiny old fashioned flowers staying bright despite the heat and humidity. I spent a good deal of time taking plant pictures yesterday in case we did get wild winds that blow them all to smithereens. I suppose that is also why we try to make so many things around the house from recycled and free materials as possible too. When you know how quickly it can all get washed away you tend to not want to overinvest in materials!! See how Shawn made the walls of the goat pavilion out of the old market signs?
In August 1797, Jane Austen wrote “First Impressions” and later changed the title to “Pride and Prejudice.” Speaking of conspiracy theories, what WOULD she have said about the sheer amount of work that has spun off from her work? The countless books, films, studies, papers, conventions, board games, podcasts it is astonishing. 41 is so very young. Somehow, I hope she knows that she has kept so many people enthralled and mystified for all these years.
Growing mustard is a great fall project, whether for mustard seeds or mustard greens. This article has some neat information about mustard. I am also wanting to plant a 3 Sister’s bed next year as well. https://www.nativeseeds.org/blogs/blog-news/how-to-grow-a-three-sisters-garden There is a lot, lot, LOT to be learned about Native Americans. After all my Little House research, I keep coming across more and more information that I am humiliated to not have known before. (ESPECIALLY since it’s part of my DNA!) Maybe, we can write more books about this and get lots of interest here as well??? Now that so many people are shopping online, it’s a great time to spend your money with places where they make a difference! Just take the time to make sure that it is a legitimate site and that the money is truly going to farmers, towns, artisans, Native Americans, etc…
Tell me what foods make you time travel! Things that you eat that make you go to a time or situation that you loved or preferred, what are they? However simple or complicated or plain, it is worth discussing in minute detail! Because if being ok for 10 minutes can be that simple, we can help a lot of people be ok. And in the face of pandemics and hatefulness and stupid, stupid storms, a few laughs and a bit of ok will make all the difference.
“Have you ever tried to get to your feet with a sprained dignity?”
― Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
Yes. Actually, I have Ms. L’Engle. Many a time!