We had a snow day on Sunday. No church. No walk. (Superbowl for hubby, though – the TV wasn’t snowed in.)

I used the gift of those extra hours to tidy up my gmail and in the process came across a poetry prompt that I couldn’t resist. So I also wrote a poem.



Seeds the size of faith
ground and added to young wine
became the fiery condiment

Sauce as ancient as Indus and Rome,
modern French’s, dyed paprika and turmeric,
drips from every summer hotdog
stains every childhood shirt.

Hulled or whole-grained, sophisticated mustard
mixes congenially with vinegar, wine, water
lemon juice, whiskey, beer; remains
a wholesome but tart foil to ham, chicken, cheese.

Bavarian or Dijon, sweet or hot
honeyed, spiced, fruited, or Poupon
yellow to brown this world citizen
is welcome at tables on every continent.

A jar of French’s still lives in my Canadian fridge—
faithful standby for sausages, wieners, mayonnaise
parson at the emulsification nuptials of oil and vinegar
and a spread for a 5-year-old’s favorite sandwich.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

* How it came to be called “mustard”:

The first element is ultimately from Latin mustum, (“must,” young wine) – the condiment was originally prepared by making the ground seeds into a paste with must. The second element comes also from Latin ardens (hot, flaming).

Source: Wikipedia.

The post that contains the prompt: “Eating and Drinking Poems: Barbara Crooker’s ‘Ode to Olive Oil’“ quotes Barbara Crooker’s wonderful poem in full.


Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Katy at her blog The Logonauts.



31 thoughts on “Mustard

  1. Leave it to a snow day to launch creativity about an everyday item – mustard! And I learned a few things about mustard along the way.


  2. This is wonderful – and so is the prompt! I’m holding on to it for later! Ruth,


  3. Ah, that faithful standby. Wonderful to read and celebrate, Violet, and I learned the word origin too, interesting. I keep it in my fridge too, & yes, for the grandkids, but prefer a grainy brown.I like spicey things a lot!


  4. What a great prompt! Your poem was such fun to read and I learned a lot, too–great combination. Next time I open my fridge I’ll be eyeing that door shelf filled with past-expiration condiments a little bit differently. Thanks!


  5. Thank you for teaching me about mustard! I have to admit, I’m drooling just a little, thinking about a crisply roasted hotdog with bright yellow mustard…


  6. Lovely, just plain lovely, Violet! I must say you took a very common subject and created a wonderful expository poem. Great mentor poem. Mustard of any kind for me. Definitely on hot dogs and corn dogs. When I was a kid, my mother made vegetable soup using beef bones, she’d pull the meat from the bones and serve it on the side with a bowl of the soup. I loved a dab of plain yellow mustard on those juicy, tender pieces beef.


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