Book Review: The Mustard Book

Figure 1A: The Mustard Book by Rosamond Man and Robin Weir

Figure 1A: The Mustard Book by Rosamond Man and Robin Weir

A Muslim brother gave me this book as a gift not long ago and I immediately thought: how do you speak about the seemingly humble mustard seed and its’ many uses as a garnish and so forth? So I read the dust jacket and realised that just laying out the synopsis was the best option. The mustard seed is first discussed in its’ most hearty form, the black seed, in the 12th Dynasty of Egypt 1991-1786 BCE in the tomb of Abu’n-Nega near Thebes.

Mass cultivation on a global scale would not be until thousands of years after this point. In England, until the Tudor period, growing herbs was something primarily restricted to monasteries. Then not long after came men who realised that the qualities of this seed could be of inestimable value. The book then opens with discussion about the medicinal uses of mustard, commercial use and major exporters and importers of it.

The book in 12 chapters covers everything from sauces and soups all the way to beef, lamb, mutton port and vegetables. I had heard this before but there are even hints about how mustard might be used as a preservative and even taking in the aroma of its’ seeds has holistic benefits.

This is a great gift and a good book. If you not only want to know what you are eating but how it came to reach you in its’ present form, this is a great book. This will also teach the reader a greater respect and desire for quality food. One cannot use a seed such as mustard for junk or fast food. Mustard in its’ best form is bitter and has either a smooth or sharp taste to the dinner. Anyone gardening or looking to be self sufficient on land in years to come should not be devoid of possession of mustard.

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