National Mustard Day 2013 is Aug. 3: Fun facts about the popular condiment

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 2, 2013 

Go cry in a corner, ketchup lovers. Today (Aug. 3) is National Mustard Day.

Need proof? Consult the National Mustard Museum, which surprisingly exists somewhere other than your dreams. The Wisconsin museum has been the official sponsor of National Mustard Day festivities since 1991.

The holiday seems especially relevant this year, since a July 2013 MarketWatch article says mustard is the world's fastest-growing condiment.

The article explains, "The condiment raked in U.S. sales of $508 million in 2012 – an 11 percent jump since 2007, according to Mintel, a market researcher."

(Ketchup sales hit $743 million in 2012, the article notes.)

Scour the Internet for mustard facts and you'll get tons of cool nuggets of wisdom. The folks at Wild Bill's Country Mustard explain one theory behind the condiment's name:

"It was the mustard condiment, not the mustard plant, that was originally called mustard. The English name, mustard, is derived from a contraction of the Latin mustum ardens, meaning burning wine. The condiment got its name because it was made by grinding the seeds of what was once called the senvy plant into a paste and mixing it with must (an unfermented wine.)"

Explore other theories about the word "mustard" here.

The folks at Plochman's Mustard cite "unconfirmed references" suggesting Benjamin Franklin was responsible for bringing mustard to the United States in 1758.

Another gem from Wild Bill's Country Mustard: "Mustard flour sprinkled in your socks is said to help save your toes from frostbite, a claim which is also made about cayenne pepper and other spices containing volatile oils."

If you indulge in a spoonful of mustard during today's festivities, it won't ruin your waistline. Not everyone subscribes to claims that a certain mustard has zero calories, but still...the calories in a teaspoon of mustard are minimal at best.

Discussion time: Do you prefer ketchup or mustard? And if you're a mustard fan, do you opt for standard or spicy varieties?

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