MustardMustard

 

vs.    

How hard could have been for my mother to remember what my brother and I wanted on our sandwiches? After all, we both wanted liverwurst. Of course, he wanted the Butcher’s Branch liverwurst, which was sliced. Whereas I wanted the braunsweiger that was a spread. Of course, there was the type of bread for her to keep in mind. Now who was it that wanted wheat, and who wanted white?

When it came to which kind of pickle to put on the sandwich, it was simplicity itself. Dale and I both hated sweet pickles and bread and butter pickles. Dill pickles were, and even to this day are, the only pickles Dale and I will eat. Of course, one of us wanted pickle on the liverwurst sandwich and the other didn’t. (Which was easy, really, because Mom just had to remember it was the opposite of the one who wanted dill pickle on a hamburger and who didn’t.)

Now, Mom could get the liverwurst right, and the bread right, and the pickle right, and even remember which sandwich should be sliced and which shouldn’t. None of it would matter if she got the mustard wrong.

My brother Dale preferred French’s mustard, which was a tad spicier than my Morehouse brand mustard. And if you think we couldn’t tell the difference, then you have gravely underestimated the nuanced elementary school palate.

I continue to be astonished that not only did our mother listen to our finicky requests, but that on a fairly regular basis, she fulfilled them. It’s almost more astonishing than a mother’s capacity to clean up vomit or endure scoreless soccer matches.

There were actually five of us kids. Three boys, two girls; I was the youngest. My mother remembered all of our dry cereal preferences, how dark we liked our toast, the right cheeses for grilled cheese sandwiches, who liked cinnamon on applesauce and who didn’t, tomato soup or chicken noodle, green or red apples, chips or pretzels (and about those chips – corn or potato), and she knew who preferred low fat and who preferred non-fat milk.

I think of my mother while making lunches for my kids. The boy, the oldest, wants peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread, strawberry jam and only Skippy peanut butter – CRUNCHY. The middle child, girl, would like a piece of steak, but if she can’t have that, she’ll settle for no more than five and no less than three pieces of salami on a flour tortilla. The youngest girl – ham, lettuce, Monterey Jack cheese on a hamburger bun.

I sometimes wonder what’s a more fitting cosmic retribution for those liverwurst sandwich demands: my children’s lunch orders or occasional bouts of gout?

My mother passed away four years ago and tomorrow would have been her 89th birthday. I wrote this when my adult children were in school, so a while ago, but I decided to post this in her honor.

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  1. Matt Balzer Member
    Matt Balzer
    @MattBalzer

    Eustace C. Scrubb: I continue to be astonished that not only did our mother listen to our finicky requests, but that on a fairly regular basis, she fulfilled them.

    I’m more astonished that your parents stocked multiple brands of yellow mustard simultaneously. My parents might have different brands, but we would have had to use up one before we got to the next.

    • #1
  2. Qoumidan Coolidge
    Qoumidan
    @Qoumidan

    Eustace C. Scrubb: It’s almost more astonishing than a mother’s capacity to… endure scoreless soccer matches.

    I can only manage this because I and the kids keep score even if it’s not official.  And I have my crochet to hide in when I can’t stand it anymore.  It’s worse than the vomit.

    • #2
  3. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Matt Balzer (View Comment):

    Eustace C. Scrubb: I continue to be astonished that not only did our mother listen to our finicky requests, but that on a fairly regular basis, she fulfilled them.

    I’m more astonished that your parents stocked multiple brands of yellow mustard simultaneously. My parents might have different brands, but we would have had to use up one before we got to the next.

    Ha ha yeah. I’m not this kind to my kids, though I generally try to customize lunches. I don’t give them the opportunity to develop different tastes in ketchup or cheese, lol.

    • #3
  4. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    Your mother was a wonderful woman.

    • #4
  5. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    Your mother was a saint and a genius, and it sounds like you knew this!  I’m impressed that she’d buy two different brands of yellow mustard for children, too. You were sooo spoiled!

    • #5
  6. OldDan Rhody Inactive
    OldDan Rhody
    @OldDanRhody

    Qoumidan (View Comment):

    Eustace C. Scrubb: It’s almost more astonishing than a mother’s capacity to… endure scoreless soccer matches.

    I can only manage this because I and the kids keep score even if it’s not official. And I have my crochet to hide in when I can’t stand it anymore. It’s worse than the vomit.

    Madame Defarge?

    • #6
  7. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    It has been said that: “God couldn’t be everywhere, so He created mothers.” I don’t care why; I’m just glad He did!  A wonderful tribute, @eustacecscrubb!

    • #7
  8. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    1. At a very young age I was told by Elston Howard that the best kind of mustard is Gulden’s. Because that’s what they serve in Yankee Stadium. You can’t go wrong taking advice from Elston Howard.

    2. My mom insisted that every cold cut sandwich have some lettuce, and always lunch included an apple. To this day I like my sandwiches naked, but always include an apple when I brown bag it to work.

    And then there was the time my mom ran out of Hellman’s and substituted Miracle Whip on my brother’s sandwich…

    • #8
  9. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Hm.  Weird.  When I was a kid, Dad was stationed in France, and the school we were sent to had no cafeteria, so we took a lunch every day.  We had those little lunchboxes that had the thermos inside.  As best I can recall, every school day for three years I had a deviled ham sandwich and chicken noodle soup.  I don’t think my brothers fared any better.  Hell, I didn’t realize there was anything else you could have for lunch.

    • #9
  10. wilber forge Inactive
    wilber forge
    @wilberforge

    Really people. Back in the day we kids had either PB and J or Leftover sandwiches for lunch  with and apple and chips if lucky.

    There were no demands for special lunches, are you a parent or a waitress, the spoiled outcomes are of your own making, so make no excuses or try to Guild the Lily. Get he drift.

     

    • #10
  11. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Steve C. (View Comment):
    And then there was the time my mom ran out of Hellman’s and substituted Miracle Whip on my brother’s sandwich…

    OMG! Yuck. Wouldn’t have happened at my house because there would have been no Miracle Whip on the premises.

    • #11
  12. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Your mother made your lunch for you? Lucky you. I had to make my own and it was either PB&J or baloney. There were no other choices. I think I was allowed to buy a carton of milk at school.

    • #12
  13. Don Tillman Member
    Don Tillman
    @DonTillman

    I recently discovered Mustard Girl brand mustards.

    I don’t actually know much about mustards, I’m just impressed that Mustard Girl exists.  And I’d be biased, anyway, as Mustard Girl started in the city I went to school in, Madison, Wisconsin.

     

    • #13
  14. Matt Balzer Member
    Matt Balzer
    @MattBalzer

    Don Tillman (View Comment):
    I don’t actually know much about mustards, I’m just impressed that Mustard Girl exists. And I’d be biased, anyway, as Mustard Girl started is in the city I went to school in, Madison, Wisconsin.

    About half an hour’s drive from Madison is Mount Horeb, home of the National Mustard Museum.

    Although I’ve never been there myself.

    • #14
  15. Bigfoot Coolidge
    Bigfoot
    @Bigfoot

    Steve C. (View Comment):
    And then there was the time my mom ran out of Hellman’s and substituted Miracle Whip on my brother’s sandwich…

    Everyone who eats Miracle Whip is going to DIE….just awful stuff

    • #15
  16. Kim K. Inactive
    Kim K.
    @KimK

    W begged our mom to let us brown bag it, but we had to take whatever they were serving in the cafeteria. At home it was “eat what’s in front of you.” I’ve been about halfway in between my mom and your mom with my own kids, Maybe a little closer to your mom. But judging by how picky my kids are, maybe I should have followed my mom’s pattern.

    • #16
  17. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):
    Your mother made your lunch for you? Lucky you. I had to make my own and it was either PB&J or baloney. There were no other choices. I think I was allowed to buy a carton of milk at school.

    I made my own lunches as well. Even in 1st grade. I had more choices though. Banana with peanut butter was always good. The best sandwiches were with leftover roast beef or meatloaf. When we would have roast beef (usually once a week), my brother would phone one of his buddies and tell him to bring a dollar the next day and sell him a sandwich. It’s still a running family joke.

    And I am totally with @stevec, Guldens brown mustard is the best. And the idea of putting mayonnaise on anything makes me shudder.

    • #17
  18. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Colman’s English is great mustard. It starts out yellow but turns brown quickly at the end of its extremely short shelf life.

    • #18
  19. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Hang On (View Comment):
    I made my own lunches as well. Even in 1st grade.

    It never occurred to me to have my kids make their own lunches. I thought that was my job. But actually, my job is ensuring the feeding gets done and that they learn to feed themselves… so… poor 3rd grader?

    • #19
  20. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Stina (View Comment):

    It never occurred to me to have my kids make their own lunches. I thought that was my job. But actually, my job is ensuring the feeding gets done and that they learn to feed themselves… so… poor 3rd grader?

    Not poor 3rd grader at all. My mother kept a list tacked on the refrigerator (magnets and refrigerators) and it was our responsibility to make sure that we had stuff for lunch. When stuff ran low, we put it on the list and she got it at the store next time she went. Yes, there was oversight, but it was more about responsibility.

    • #20
  21. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    My daughter played soccer for a bit. She stopped 17 years ago. There are still Saturdays when I wake up and celebrate I don’t have to go to a game.

    And every morning I celebrate not having to make any lunches.

    BTW to this day I don’t remember preferences. I had a note taped to the inside of the bread box  that covered who liked mayo, who preferred mustard, etc. I am amazed by parents (like my sisters) who can rattle off their kids’ favorite dinners, restaurants, etc.

    • #21
  22. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    God Bless all the good moms in the world.

    • #22
  23. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    Eustace C. Scrubb: My brother Dale preferred French’s mustard, which was a tad spicier than my Morehouse brand mustard.

    Of course your brother was right.

    • #23
  24. Old Buckeye Inactive
    Old Buckeye
    @OldBuckeye

    I would have been happy with PB&J, but my mom foisted that awful pickle pimiento loaf on us kids. I never understood the name, because as I recall, it has olives, not pickles, embedded in it. To make it even worse, she put butter or mayo on it. I don’t know why PB&J was off-limits (I went to school waaaayyy before protecting kids from peanut allergies was a thing). It seems like it would have been cheaper and I would have actually eaten it. Plenty of those pimiento loaf sandwiches ended up in the trash.

    • #24
  25. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    The night before I went to my first day of full-day kindergarten, my mother sat me down and told me how proud she and my dad were of me, and how big I was getting, and how I was going to have to make my own lunch every night before school from now on because that was what big girls did.

    I was excited. I was a big girl!

    My mother never, in all my years of schoolin’, made my lunch or brought me lunch if I forgot it. She had six children, and she never did this for any of us. She was a wise, wise, woman, and I love and honor her example.

    But your mom sounds a lot nicer!

    • #25
  26. Hank Rhody Contributor
    Hank Rhody
    @HankRhody

    OldDan Rhody (View Comment):

    Qoumidan (View Comment):

    Eustace C. Scrubb: It’s almost more astonishing than a mother’s capacity to… endure scoreless soccer matches.

    I can only manage this because I and the kids keep score even if it’s not official. And I have my crochet to hide in when I can’t stand it anymore. It’s worse than the vomit.

    Madame Defarge?

    I expect it’ll surprise no one at all but that is exactly the reference I jumped to. Qoumidian crocheting the scores into cardigans, biding her time until the revolution comes and she can produce her evidence…

    • #26
  27. Hank Rhody Contributor
    Hank Rhody
    @HankRhody

    Steve C. (View Comment):
    1. At a very young age I was told by Elston Howard that the best kind of mustard is Gulden’s. Because that’s what they serve in Yankee Stadium. You can’t go wrong taking advice from Elston Howard.

    Solid argument. I’m a great fan of the Silver Spring Beer & Brat mustard, which I first got in the stands of an Eau Claire Express ball game. Spicy stuff, it’s great on brats. Haven’t tried mixing it with my beer yet.

    • #27
  28. Matt Balzer Member
    Matt Balzer
    @MattBalzer

    Hank Rhody (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):
    1. At a very young age I was told by Elston Howard that the best kind of mustard is Gulden’s. Because that’s what they serve in Yankee Stadium. You can’t go wrong taking advice from Elston Howard.

    Solid argument. I’m a great fan of the Silver Spring Beer & Brat mustard, which I first got in the stands of an Eau Claire Express ball game. Spicy stuff, it’s great on brats. Haven’t tried mixing it with my beer yet.

    For some reason I took it to mean that beer is an ingredient.

    • #28
  29. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    My mother never, in all my years of schoolin’, made my lunch or brought me lunch if I forgot it. She had six children, and she never did this for any of us.

    Same here – six of us and I was the oldest. If anyone made lunches for the younger ones it was me! We were lucky if Mom did our laundry!

    • #29
  30. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Annefy (View Comment):
    My daughter played soccer for a bit. She stopped 17 years ago. There are still Saturdays when I wake up and celebrate I don’t have to go to a game.

    And every morning I celebrate not having to make any lunches.

    BTW to this day I don’t remember preferences. I had a note taped to the inside of the bread box that covered who liked mayo, who preferred mustard, etc. I am amazed by parents (like my sisters) who can rattle off their kids’ favorite dinners, restaurants, etc.

    Lol.  I can barely rattle off my kids’ names.

    • #30

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