Army vs. Navy
Michigan vs. Ohio State
Ketchup vs. Mustard
America loves a good old-fashioned rivalry.
And although football rivalries tend to get most of the press, the decades old rivalry between America’s two favorite condiments has forced many of us to declare allegiance to either the red team or the yellow team – especially during grilling season.
As for my loyalty, I have yellow blood in my veins. And I can proudly say I’m an alumnus of Poupon U – America’s Mustard College. It’s conveniently located a few miles from my house inside the National Mustard Museum.
Yes. There is a Mustard Museum.
And yes there is a Poupon U.
We even have school songs.
My affiliation began back in July of 2010; a ginormous mustard squeeze bottle unintentionally recruited me.
I was sitting outside a restaurant around the corner from the Mustard Museum enjoying lunch when I noticed a large yellow bottle walking towards me. Playing it cool, I gave a quick smile as the bottle walked by. But a second later, it stopped, turned around, walked back to my table and pointed at the Heinz Ketchup in front of my plate. With a heartbroken pout on its face, this innocent mustard bottle sadly said, “You have ketchup.” It looked at me for a few seconds, its eyes filling with tears, then continued walking.
I was speechless. And beyond impressed. To this day I’ve yet to meet a finer mustard actress.
I ceremoniously laid the ketchup bottle on its side, paid my bill and walked over to the Mustard Museum to see what it was all about.
And since that fateful day I can honestly say I only buy mustard straight from the museum’s shelves.
Mustard is hot right now – and I’m not talking about its flavor. In 2012 my fellow mustard lovers and I bought just over $508 million of the yellow stuff – an 11% increase from 2011 and the numbers should be even higher this year.
It’s also becoming the “it” condiment at trendy restaurants like Alison Eighteen in NYC, where (according to owner Alice Price Becker) customers request it for dipping bread and French fries.
At The Public House in Vegas where executive chef Anthony Meidenbauer makes his own bacon and onion mustard.
And in San Diego, Avant at the Rancho Bernardo Inn serves house made mustards on tap in small quantities. Now that’s taking mustard to new levels.
August 3rd is National Mustard Day. You can bet I’ll be wearing yellow all day, grilling some hot dogs and brats that night for the family. . .and hiding the ketchup.
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