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Do You Know the Mustard Man?

August 7, 2010

Barry Levinson was easy to spot amid the revelers at the National Mustard Day festivities in Middleton Saturday. He was the only person clad in white lab coat and smiling from ear to ear.

Celebrated the first Saturday of each August, National Mustard Day is Levinson’s holiday. Really. Not only because the former assistant attorney general for the State of Wisconsin owns and operates the National Mustard Museum, which recently moved from Mt. Horeb to Middleton, but because he also created National Mustard Day. At least that’s the story on numerous websites mentioning the event, which is known among foodies throughout the country. If that’s the case, then he is the only person we’ve ever met who has created a holiday without having to work for Hallmark Cards.

Festivities abounded, with live music, Oscar Mayer hotdogs and two members of the Klements’ “racing sausages” team taking a day of from their duties at Miller Park. Visitors crowded the museum, examining various mustards of the world and even watching videos in the museum’s “Mustard Piece Theater.”

The Mustard Museum's Barry Levinson. Photo courtesy Mustard Museum.

The crowd was pretty dense outside of the museum, too, clogging stretches of both Hubbard Avenue and Parmenter Street that had been closed of for the event. Clearly espousing the notion that everything tastes better with mustard, there were pretzels for dipping, Carr Valley Cheese samples for dipping, Klements bratwurst “sliders” (2 for $1) for slathering and mustard, mustard everywhere.

Once again Culver’s joined the party, producing a “mustard custard” ($1) presumably not available through the Sauk City franchising firm’s restaurants. The woman who handed me the cup of the off-white concoction confided that this year they used a spicy Canadian yellow mustard in the mix. After trying and recoiling from a similar blend during a National Mustard Day celebration several years ago in Mt. Horeb, I thought I was ready for (almost) anything.

Culver's serves up a special custard for National Mustard Day. Photo courtesy Mustard Museum.

But I wasn’t really expecting this. The thick, creamy custard in the cup had a zesty quality, with a characteristic mustard taste suitably subdued by the sweetness. The mustard-ness came and went quickly, blending seamlessly with the custard’s creaminess on the palate, the dish’s flavors and textures further augmented by a crushed chocolate-covered pretzels mixed in. It was … good, almost as if custard and mustard were meant to go together, and not only because their names rhymed.

Of course, Barry Levinson could have told you that. In fact, we’re guessing there are very few things he doesn’t believe go better with mustard.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2010 2:12 am

    A+ would read again

    • Mike and Jean permalink*
      August 29, 2010 12:30 am

      Thanks! I hope you will keep tuning in.

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