I am a chronic mustard consumer and I admit without reservation that I am an addict. I’m equally fond of the very spicy variants and the sweet Bavarian one. I look for and buy the various special flavors, so it was an ethereal moment in my life when my brother-in-law brought me a Guinness-infused version from England.
That is why I believe — in this great energy crisis — that I am not the only one upset by the news recently reported in Hungarian local media that mustard has disappeared from the shelves across Europe due to an ongoing supply disruption.
The primary reason is said to be climate change. The French, for example, obtain most of the raw material for mustard from Canada, but the crop there is now almost extinct. In one of the strongholds of mustard production, all kinds of weed beetles have destroyed the crop; more resistant varieties should be bred, but this takes time and doesn’t happen overnight.
The European demand for mustard could be filled partly from Ukraine, but mainly from Russia. As a part-time “mustard expert,” I can say with some confidence that the famous Russian mustard, “Gorshica,” easily competes with the French or English varieties.
It’s just that Zelensky can’t deliver; they have bigger problems than this to address, and the Russians — who could conceivably step in — have been banned everywhere.
I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these days an EU bureaucrat announces a comprehensive mustard embargo. Some bars and liquor stores in the West have already done this voluntarily with the legendary Russian vodka.
Checkmate! I can already envision the apocalyptic picture: A German citizen fries his famous Bavarian white sausage over a candle flame, then slathers it with mayonnaise. This is how silly European politics meets a bottle of sauce. This is a story with a spicy moral.