History of Mustard

Today’s episode is all about the History of Mustard. I have Barry Levenson on to talk all about the history of this humble condiment. Barry is the curator and owner of the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin. You won’t want to miss this one.

Heartbreak and Inspiration

Barry shared his story and the inspiration behind the museum. After the Boston Red Sox suffered a depressing loss in the World Series in 1986, Barry found himself wandering up and down the aisles of a local supermarket. As he passed the mustards, he heard a voice: if you collect us, they will come. Barry didn’t delay. In a search for purpose after another letdown, he began to enthusiastically collect mustard.

The National Mustard Museum now boasts a collection of 6,050 different types of mustard. Barry also said they aren’t done. They are continuing to scour the globe looking for mustard. Their collection contains mustard from all 50 states and 70 countries.

Mustard Goes to the Supreme Court

The highlight of my conversation with Barry about the history of mustard, was when he shared his personal account of how mustard ended up in the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

Before Barry threw himself into the Mustard Museum business full time, he was an Assistant Attorney General for the great state of Wisconsin. He had an opportunity to argue a case before the Supreme Court. When he left his room that morning to head to the courthouse, he saw a hotel room service tray. Someone had finished there meal, but left their tiny jar of mustard completely untouched.

Barry had a dilemma. On one hand, he could leave the mustard on the tray and walk away. On the other hand, he could grab the condiment and high tail it out of there. He chose to grab the mustard and dash. He put the small jar in his pocket and went to argue his case, a case he ended up winning. The whole time the mustard remained in his pocket. It’s the first time to his knowledge that a jar of mustard made it to the Supreme Court while a case was being argued.

Passion for Mustard

It was difficult to not feel Barry’s passion for mustard. It is something I admired. If you find yourself in the great state of Wisconsin out near Madison, make sure you hop on over and give the National Mustard Museum a shot. You can learn more about the museum here. If Facebook is your jam, or mustard, you can find the museum’s page here. You can also support the museum and help them maintain free admission by checking out some of their merchandise. It the book, “Mustard on a Pickle,” here.

Did You Like Learning About The National Mustard Museum?

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History of Mustard: The Day Mustard Went to the Supreme Court
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