Sometimes we take for granted. We forget that much of our life has been built around convenience–helping us to speed ever faster forward, but perhaps enjoying neither the direction nor the journey itself. Take mustard for instance. Prior to learning to make my own (and being surprised how simple it is!) I’d never even thought about the process. But the jar of fancy French Dijon or Spicy Brown that I reach for on a frequent basis is really a jar containing few ingredients that can be easily made myself. It makes me wonder. What else, in our quest for newer/better/faster have we lost?
At home, over the 4th of July, we had a breakfast with my family and our neighbors, my long-time friend, K’s family. I made a tart–a recipe I will make here–out of homemade mascarpone cheese. It was so easy. My dad and K’s dad discussed how both their generation and ours have lost the knowledge of thrift and resourcefulness. For instance, I had an excess of heavy cream sitting around that I didn’t know what to do with. So I made cheese. The fancy kind of cream cheese that costs more in the grocery store. There were two ingredients and it barely took any time. I think I’m on to something!
So why have we lost the ability to know about these types of things? It’s simple–or rather, really complicated. It’s the 21st Century, baby. We’re moving forward! So should we all go back to the days where we grind our own mustard seeds (in a pepper mill here), and make our own cheese? Perhaps not. Though knowing that we can–or how to be resourceful to prevent waste–may prove useful. After all, we may only be a generation or two away from our children having no thought as to how or where their food is produced.Wholegrain Mustard, adapted from Forgotten Skills of Cooking 1/3 cup white wine vinegar 3 Tbs. yellow mustard seeds 2 Tbs. brown mustard seeds 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar 1 Tbs. honey 1 tsp. salt
- Pour the white wine vinegar over the yellow mustard seeds and leave to soak for 3-5 days. You may have to periodically add more vinegar so the seeds are covered. (The longer this sits, the hotter the mustard will be).
- When it is finished soaking, use a food processor to roughly grind the yellow seeds. Then grind the brown seeds into a fine powder using a spice mill, mortar and pestle, or as a last resort, a pepper mill. Mix the two mustards together with the remaining white wine vinegar, honey, and salt.
- Alternatively, if you have a magic bullet or the like, skip the spice mill step, and throw the yellow seed mixture and the remaining ingredients into the blender with the flat blade, and after a few seconds, your mustard is done!
- Fill into small glass jars. Cover and store in a cool, dry place.
A recipe to use the mustard with (a lovely, summer salad) coming soon!