Monthly Archives: September 2012

Fifty Shades of Gray Poupon

Written & photographed by contributing writer Jacqueline Twa

I spent most of my formative years out here on the beautiful west coast, and grew up sheltered from many things…including condiments.

Well, ketchup and mayonnaise have always been a part of my life but mustard was something rare and really bright yellow – sun shiny yellow. In our home it was only to be used sparingly. A little swipe on a ham sandwich on white bread, or sometimes on a hot dog. This brilliantly coloured condiment was definitely not something that you encountered every day. At least in my family.

Looking back now, I realize that I was a mustard innocent. But all of that sweet naiveté was stripped away in junior high school when I met and befriended Yvette, a girl who had just moved to our city. She came from France, and as a result seemed incredibly unique, very sophisticated, and oh so worldly.

I shall always remember the day I was first asked to come over to her house for dinner.

I had never seen anything like the food that was put in front of me. They even had hor’derves – and on a Tuesday night no less! Yvette’s Mom came over to us with a tray of tiny round crackers with what I thought was going to be mayonnaise and a sweet pickle, but in actuality was a tiny cornichon with a healthy slathering of Dijon mustard as its sexy pillow.

I took one, thanked her politely, and popped it into my mouth.

My scalp tingled and my eyes widened at this first taste. My virgin tastebuds were assaulted, slowly heating my mouth and shocking my senses into total oblivion. I abruptly feelt a stiffening in my mouth, my lips throbbing from the tangy assault. I spat out this unfamiliar experience into a million little pieces, watching helplessly as they fell into the depths of my napkin.

My mouth spent and exhausted, my chest heaving from the heady experience.  A strange and somehow savory, sexy taste lingering on my lips from the mustard. It was at this point that I knew deep inside that I would forever be bound to mustard – my new dark, savoury obsession.

When I mentioned this experience to my Mom after returning home later that night, she just rolled her eyes at the thought of serving 14 year olds hor’derves!

Thus began my fetish with mustard.  I dared not tell anyone about my obsession for fear they wouldn’t understand. When I left home and moved out on my own, I immediately went to the grocery store and bought several types of contraband mustard and brought them home to explore and embrace my new mustard-centric lifestyle.

Eventually I did come out of hiding and openly admit that I like mustard. I even began serving it at dinner parties. Today it is unusual for me to make any kind of savory sauce, vinaigrette, wet rub or barbeque sauce without adding at least some mustard. My family enjoys mustard and the things I make with it, with the exception of my middle son who has a morbid fear of mustard in any form.

Perhaps like me, he just needs to experience a mustard awakening.

Laters, baby!

For a copy of Jax’s Mustard Chicken please click here

COOKBOOK REVIEW The Quintessential Quinoa Cookbook

Review written & photographed by Jordan A.R.

The Quintessential Quinoa Cookbook is available for purchase through our online store or at local bookstores. For more information on this cookbook please visit Thomas Allen & Son

The Quintessential Quinoa Cookbook (published by Skyhorse Publishing, $17.95 USD) is written by Wendy Polisi, creator of the popular website This book is a collection of over two hundred of Wendy’s quinoa-inspired recipes, and includes nutritional information for each dish as well as tips on preparation and ingredient substitutions. The recipes cover a wide spectrum of dietary genres, including vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. There are also kid specific recipes, as well as suggested meals to serve on busy weeknights when you’re short on time but still want to serve something healthy.

I have to admit that I found the photography completely uninspiring. It is said that we eat with our eyes, and the same follows true with cooking: we want to cook what looks good to eat. Obviously publishers don’t have unlimited budgets and high caliber food photography is not cheap, but this book would have really benefited from some more consideration in terms of its overall visual appeal.

Some of the other issues I have with the book are in regards to basic edits. For example; I found the suggested cook times and temperatures not only to be inaccurate but also inconsistent with what is listed online. There were even instances where itemized ingredients were nowhere to be found in the recipe itself, while more commonsense ingredient additions were excluded. After double-checking the website I found the same recipes online without errors.

If you’re interested in a beautiful recipe book about quinoa, something like Quinoa 365 deserves purchase. But if all you want are some quick, simple recipes using this South American staple, check out Wendy’s website. Honestly, after testing this cookbook and closely examining her website I cannot help but feel that what’s online is a far superior resource for cooks.