How better to celebrate than to prepare a favorite recipe? OK, so my selected favorite recipe “Fire on the Mountain Mustard” doesn’t seem to fit well with traditional holiday foods such as turkey, ham, stuffing and pies. But, a special time like Christmas can be celebrated in a variety of ways. What’s important is to incorporate traditions into your own festivities and create your own unique traditions. We think that those sentiments are summed up well in the following quote and story that reminds us of the cooking tradition:
“When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone. Whether we know it or not, none of us is. We bring fathers and mothers and kitchen tables, and every meal we have ever eaten. Food is never just food. It’s also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be.” -Molly Wizenberg, (Author of A Homemade Life)
“My gramps Crain used to have a garlic patch along the Portage Creek– I don’t remember any cultivar name– but it was one he got from some friend of his up in Rochester – something that caught his eye botanically. My grandparents at the time owned and operated a little depression-era filling station and small restaurant there outside Port Allegany–and everything my grandfather cooked got a liberal portion of garlic. They had quite a little barter system going at the time, with some people with tomatoes or asparagus, others with milk or beef or pork. My grandparents eventually had quite the flock of chickens and egg layers. But, the garlic made a whole lot of sense. On either Wednesday or Thursday night they did a spaghetti and meatball special. And that sauce recipe (which seems to be about 1/3 garlic, haha), I still cook up about once a season or so.” – Professor Jon (Doc) Cawley from Roanoke College Salem, VA
So, the tradition of preparing a specialty food item can have meaning. And, what actually all went into our kettle of Mountain Mustard this year? The ingredients were: Bishop’s Crown, Inferno, Hungarian Hot Wax hot peppers and honey, whole wheat flour, raw sugar, yellow prepared mustard and apple cider vinegar.
- 1 gallon of apple cider vinegar, Demler’s
- 5 pounds of raw sugar, Golden Barrel
- 6 pounds of prepared mustard, French’s
- 6 cups of whole wheat flour, Snavely’ Mill
- 1 quart of local honey, Draper’s Super Bee Apiaries
- An abundance of home-grown, fresh-frozen chili peppers
- 4 cups of water
And, the result was 3 gallons and 1 quart of home-made mustard with a fiery sweetness to be enjoyed well into the New Year! Special thanks to Sharon for the recipe by Fitzgerald’s Family Farm, hot peppers from Chef and gardener Butch Davis and story by Doc Cawley.