the Intimidating Mustard

I am intimidated by a jar of mustard.

It’s no secret that I love good food and that I love trying new products. But I’m also a bit of a tightwad, and I’m all about value for money, even before we came into “tough economic times”.

When Greg and I were at the Gourmet Food and Wine Festival in November, we got separated at one point and I eventually found my husband in front of a booth called Made in France. He was sampling products and as I approached, turned around and pointed a mustard-laden pretzel stick in my direction. “Try this! It’s got truffles!!” he exclaimed.

Indeed, it was one truffly mustard, and it made me swoon.

The other mustards on display had prices on the jar. $6 each. That’s a bit of money for mustard, but they were all good, so we asked for a jar of the stuff with truffles and the nice man wrapped it up and bagged it and handed it to me before saying, “That will be $18, please.” The sharp intake of breath from both of us made a startling noise. But once we had our wits about us, we had to make a decision, and fast.

The mustard was good, we wanted the mustard. But it was $18. But there were truffles – big hunks of truffles – in the mustard. But… $18… for mustard? But I already had the bag in my hand, it would be so lame to hand it back. Could the guy catch me if I took off running?

Greg handed over the cash and we walked away trying to find something to offset the cost. Our passes to the event were comped, most of our drinks were comped. Thanks to a fortuitous run-in with one of my favourite PR ladies, some of our food was comped. And… the $18 mustard would be a Christmas present. One I’d have to share, but I’ve since raided Greg’s Christmas wine gum stash, so we’re pretty even.

The problem now is what to do with the mustard. You don’t just throw $18 mustard loaded with truffles onto a hot dog. It would be wasted as an emulsifier in a salad dressing. I can’t justify making my favourite childhood treat of a mustard sandwich, slathering the stuff onto slices of white bread (yeah, I know, I was a weird kid, and condiment sandwiches were a particular favourite). $18 truffle mustard needs something that can live up to the hype.

I used the mustard during Christmas dinner, adding a dollop to the brussels sprouts. They were awesome. Best brussels sprouts ever. But now I’m at a loss. While I don’t want to elevate it to some mythical status ingredient, some coveted item that only gets trotted out for special events, I don’t want to waste it on stuff where it won’t be the star.

Maybe it will be mustard sandwiches, after all. Just on fancier bread.

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