Despite my best efforts, not to mention my nearly superhuman powers of procrastination, I cannot read everything on the internet, so this mustard thing nearly slipped past me. Can it be true? Did Sean Hannity actually poke the president as a fancypants elitist for having ordered “spicy mustard…Dijon mustard” on his cheeseburger? Video evidence confirms he did. Wow. I’m impressed.
It so happens I have a little experience in this area — mustard-related class issues, that is. Alan’s dad was tickled by the Grey Poupon commercials Hannity references in that segment, the one where the two Rolls-Royces pull up beside one another and the fancypants poofters inside borrow mustard. So one year for Christmas, as a joke, Alan bought him a jar. His mother took him aside later and said, “You shouldn’t have spent all that money,” having perhaps, like Sean Hannity, absorbed the wrong lesson from the ad. Of course Grey Poupon and other Dijon mustard isn’t expensive at all. It’s just…spicy. And brown. When those ads started running, when the Great Democratizing Push of Dijon Mustard began in the 1980s, mustard was yellow and that was that.
Oh, hell, you’re all graybeards like me. I don’t need to tell you this.
The Rolls-Royce ads worked the way ads are supposed to — they branded Dijon mustard as the choice of Rolls-Royce passengers everywhere, even as Kraft (its owner) was selling it to the masses for a couple bucks. I most often use it in salad dressings of all sorts. It really enlivens a potato salad, if you ask me, and it is the only choice for deviled eggs. In my opinion, Obama’s greater mustard sin was putting it, or any mustard, on a hamburger. I don’t think mustard and beef go together anywhere except on a hot dog. A friend of mine who once worked at McDonald’s told me there’s a strict order to the condiment application there, and that mustard always goes on top of the ketchup blob, because mustard, even plain old McDonald’s yellow mustard, is too strong a flavor to directly touch the meat.
In fact, if you put me in a dark room under a single hot light and sweated me, I’d lay out my whole condiment/meat philosophy: Ketchup, and only ketchup, is for hamburgers, and mustard, and only mustard, is for hot dogs. The start of grilling season at our house really begins with the ritual Sneering at Alan’s Condiment Choices for his Hebrew National, dramatized here by Clint Eastwood:
I like a single stripe of Plochman’s and a few chopped onions, m’self, although I’ve been known to use Dijon and even sweet relish, but never, ever ketchup. Some things are sacred. (Before you Chicagoans weigh in, let me just say that so-called Chicago-style dogs are gross, too — cucumbers? Tomatoes? Bitchpleeze.)
The Straight Dope tackles the mustard question with customary flair, here.
And that’s gotta be the end of it for me, today. I finally scored a new printer, and had planned to start a new Friday feature called Embarrassing Pictures, but I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to figure out the scanning function, and the work will not let up until mid-afternoon, at which point I’m going to celebrate with a few garage sales, not an owner’s manual. Besides, I know you people love nothing better than a big discussion about nothing — thanks for all those ringtone updates early in the week, btw — so I’ll let you take it from here.
Or maybe we’ll end up talking about torture again. Or stress tests. Or whatever. All I know is, I gotta lotta copy to edit in about two hours. You have a good weekend, you Rolls-Royce driving poofters, you.