Friday, May 16, 2008

English Mustard

Although we have a handful of Africa-ubiquitous Lebanese-run businesses here, they do not generally import middle-eastern foods. Eight months ago one of them, and my favourite, imported tins of ful mesdames and Houmous but never imported Tahini (sesame seend paste) and essential to make this chickpea (of which we have plenty) - based dish.

The tins of ful-mesdames and houmous soon ran out and I've been on at them ever since to stock them - and they promise me “... in the next container ... in a month's time”. And I know there will be no tahini!

So I bought two jars of tahini in the UK. One is already used up.

The other culinary delight I have brought from the England is Coleman's Mustard. What's so special about that my readers may ask? Well, it's Coleman's of Norwich Original English Mustard.


Adding vinegar arrests the development of the seed's pungency and even more so when it is ground. The first successful attempt at drying and milling the oily mustard seeds was by a Mrs Clements of Tewkesbury in 1720 who produced a mustard powder with local fame to be reconstituted with water (or, I suppose vinegar – but this was certainly too expensive for your common-folk in a non-wine producing country at that time). According to Alan Davidson, Tewkesbury mustard is stilll famous.

In 1804 Mr Joseph Coleman produced the first nationally available mustard-powder mixed with turmeric for colour and wheat-flour for texture.

European mustards almost always arrest the chemical reaction with vinegar as soon as harvesting has taken place and hence your French or German mustard will be milder, use whole rather than ground seeds and be vingarised.

So that why is English mustard is special ... next episode, Marmite, to complete our Colonial Officer's stores.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Wow, Angus. Corporate hate mail AND a Short History of English Mustard all in one day!

How do you do it?