Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Golden Treasure

It was just a metal tube filled with mustard, and yet...

In this country we sell our mustard in jars and squeeze bottles, and that's the way we like it. Yellow, spicy, Dijon, honey, whatever the type, that's the way it comes, and why not? Such packaging is convenient and familiar to our nation of sandwich makers. But not long ago I was in an international grocery of the kind that is rather common in our diverse area.

Shopping there you can travel the world aisle by aisle, finding unusual products at every turn. For the adventurous American cook seeking a specialty item it is a treasure trove, but for others it is a bit of home.

Having had the privilege of living in overseas, I could appreciate both. There was a particular store in Lugano, Switzerland when I was in school there that stocked a variety of international items, among them such novelties as Oreos and Doritos. Some Saturdays we took the bus downtown simply to troll the aisle of American products, longing for a taste of the USA.

Now I picked up the toothpaste tube full of mustard and closed my eyes. I was back in Switzerland at Angelo's, the small general store right off campus, and Angelo's mama was making their famous ham and cheese sandwich. First she split a roll that had been delivered from the local baker just that morning. Next it was a foil wrapped disc of Bel Paese cheese that she spread on the bottom, topped with Italian ham and some sliced cornichons. The final touch was a squirt of mustard and then mayonnaise from the metal tubes on the counter. We growing teens couldn't get enough of them after study hall, but it's still one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten.

Into my cart went the mustard, and down the aisle I headed, wondering what other treasures this place might hold.


  1. Incredible description of the sandwich making. You might enjoy the German Gourmet for similar kinds of yummy things in tubes...that could be a whole blog post of its own.

  2. Taste can hold such powerful memories. I have had a similiar experience! Enjoy your sandwich

  3. I had no idea any of this even existed. Your post transformed me to a new place, both here in the states and abroad. Well done!

  4. What a great way to make my mouth water. I'm already planning a sandwich with mustard for tomorrow's lunch. It probably won't be as delicious as this one though--it's too hard to replace that freshly delivered bread.