Friday, November 27, 2009

008.Colman's Double Superfine Mustard Powder

Produced by Colman's of Norwich
Distributed by Van den Bergh Foods, location mysterious
Claim: "Original English."
$3.29 for 2 ounces
Ingredients: mustard flour.

"By appointment to Her Majesty The Queen," the famous yellow tin leads from the top, just under the royal logo, "Van den Bergh Foods Ltd. Suppliers of Margarines, Low Fat Spreads, Mustards and Sauces."

Van den Bergh is a massive American food conglomerate launched in Lisle, Illinois, then gobbled up by Unilever. Van den Bergh has a plant, if not a headquarters, in Atlanta. It marries with the "appointment" text like tea and Boston Harbor water.

I am a sucker for old English foodstuffs that travel well — treacle, pickled walnuts, bitter ale, spicy gin, Worcestershire sauce, Twinings, etc. It's part of the colonial need for food preservation, which has a very bombastic aspect to it, historically, but in posterity seems nearly quaint. Plus, I love the tins.

Colman's was established in 1814 by Jeremiah Colman at Stoke Holy Cross. It's a blend of two mustard seeds, Brassica juncea (brown) and Sinapis alba (white), ground to form a pale yellow powder. Blended with water, its powers are released.

I buy Colman's because the odd brandade or braise will occasionally call for it. It's never occurred to me to actually prepare my own mustard from powder. Colman's is said to have a fairly fiery tone about it. But, then, I eat Dijon forte off my fingers, so hot may be relative.

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