Thursday, August 13, 2009
Penny's Mustard is Back!
Penny Koehn makes my favourite mustard in the whole world. She won't give me the recipe, but at least she gives me a jar now and then!! Here's a litle excerpt from my upcoming book, Prairie Feast:
"After my first jar of Penny’s mustard, I could love no other. All other mustards were mere dalliances, a little heat on the side, pale in comparison to my main squeeze. As I scraped the bottom of that first jar, I felt as melancholy as if I were saying goodbye to a summer love. Will you ever touch my lips again? Shall I close my eyes and smell you near me, and long for you with every tomato sandwich and sausage on a bun?
Faced with that prospect, I decided that the best course of action was to ask Penny for the recipe for her homemade mustard so I could keep myself in the condiment to which I was accustomed.
.“It’s easy,” she said. “You just…”
.“Ahem,” interrupted her husband Rick. “That mustard is a secret family recipe, and you’re not family.”
I suppose if I’d had a son I could have betrothed him to one of Rick and Penny’s daughters — marriages have been arranged over lesser treasures. But alas, a mustard alliance between our two families was not to be. Blackmail was out of the question. A ransom note was impractical. I could hold them at knife point — but all I really wanted on my knife was Penny’s mustard.
“Okay,” I said, “but if you’re planning to go into business with that secret family recipe then do it quickly, because I have a habit to feed.”.
As soon as I said that, I realized how spoiled I’d become. Grocery stores are better than drug dealers when it comes to instant gratification. Supermarkets have wiped out all semblance of the seasons and eliminated the act of longing from our food vocabulary. When we want it, we buy it. We think nothing of eating asparagus in winter and raspberries in spring. In fact, we’re upset if we can’t have them whenever the fancy strikes. Just imagine how much better those raspberries would taste if we awaited their natural season with the same giddy anticipation as a child awaiting Christmas or a special birthday gift. Would Penny’s mustard seem less special if I never ran out?
I decided to take the Zen approach, free my heart of longing and let desire melt away like Coleman’s mustard in a Welsh rarebit. I would treat all mustards with respect, appreciating their unique qualities, like Dijon in a homemade mayonnaise, or honey mustard on a baked ham, or warm potato salad with a grainy mustard vinaigrette. In this unjudgmental state, I might even revisit the bologna-and-yellow-mustard sandwich of my youth. At some enlightened moment, when I was least expecting it, Penny’s mustard to come to me. That was mustard karma."