Beer Mustard

I must not have been paying attention or haven’t been to a chain movie theater in a while. Last night we were at the AMC and I noticed for the first time the listings of calories next to the items on the menu board. It only took seconds for my wife to clock that I had noticed and forbid me from talking about it. I drive her crazy with my obsession on nutrition. I don’t go to chain restaurants other than the occasional starbucks, so I haven’t seen this vulgar display until now. It was amusing, disgusting and embarrassing, but it certainly wasn’t helpful to the people purchasing large drinks that contained 1500 calories. That’s right, 3/4 of the daily caloric intake recommended by the US government in a cup with a straw!

Earlier yesterday I rode my bike past a McDonalds and thought, “Somebody should be standing out here with a sign telling these unsuspecting people how bad this place is.” Then I realized that its not the right time or place. People need to be educated about nutrition, good food and cooking, not be confronted and belittled for their lack of knowledge.  A fast food restaurant is not a good place to educate. First of all, you can’t learn anything when you are hungry. This is why the breakfast programs at schools are so important. Second, you can’t brow beat people into healthier lifestyles, especially if they have already made a decision to the contrary.

My wife uses a really good measuring stick when it comes to choices of marginal or calorie dense foods. She will taste something and say: “It’s not worth the calories.” This is a simple and straight forward way to make this decision. We all like treats of various kinds. I love doritos, but are they worth the calories? Not often. It’s not very scientific, but at least it is a thought process that keeps your eye on the ball (or waistline),

By the way, I don’t mention it often, but I have lost 10 pounds since I first announced I was going to lose weight. I’m a little behind schedule but I am headed in the right direction.

Here is the last ingredient for your picnic. I have made all of the common condiments with little effort and very little expense. Ketshup was the most expensive because I used store bought tomatoes. This summer, when we have an abundance of tomatoes from the garden, it will be much cheaper.

Mustard is very, very easy to make. It is as simple as two ingredients, mustard seed and cold water. It is important to use cold water as this releases the pungency of the mustard seed without the bitterness. The rest of the ingredients are purely for taste. The vinegar and salt also help to preserve it. The vinegar also stabilizes the spiciness. If you make simple mustard without an acid, it’s pungency could fade really quickly.


  • 6 Tablespoons Brown or Black Mustard Seed
  • 6 Tablespoons White (yellow) Mustard Powder
  • 1/3 Cup Cold Water
  • 1/3 Cup Beer
  • 3 Tablespoons Vinegar (I used White Wine and Balsamic)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt


  • Bowl
  • Spice Grinder or Mortar and Pestle
  • Glass Jar or Bowl with cover
  1. Grind the seeds to break them up. You can still have some whole ones but in order to release all of that mustard punch you need to break the seed. The brown or black is hotter than the white so pick your proportions accordingly. I liked this half and half ratio.
  2. Combine powders and add the water and beer. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes or so.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well, cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. 
You can also add just about any flavor you can imagine: Fresh herbs, honey, sugar, garlic, horseradish.

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