July 30, 2007

An Open Letter to Stonewall Kitchen LLC of York, Maine

TO: Stonewall Kitchen

FR: Benjamin Kepple

RE: Mustard is supposed to be hot



RECENTLY, I PURCHASED a small container of your "Horseradish Mustard" product, which according to your Web site is "intensely flavored with the distinctive taste of horseradish" and will "enhance any recipe" in which a customer makes use of it. As Stonewall Kitchen LLC is a purveyor of gourmet foods, and I picked up this small container from a gourmet foods store, I thought for sure I would have a good experience with your "Horseradish Mustard." Oh, how wrong I was.

This evening, I prepared chicken sandwiches for my supper and found, much to my great annoyance, that not only was your "Horseradish Mustard" not even remotely spicy or intense, it had a flavor that could only be charitably described as "delicate." Mustard, as you well know, is not supposed to be delicate. Mustard is supposed to be hot -- hence the name, derived from the Latin mustum ardens, in which ardens can be translated as "burning." Your mustard was so not burning that I was forced to rely on hot pepper sauce to get some kick, and I almost turned to a jar of jalapeno pepper slices I had to derive the heat I desired; the heat, I would again note, that most certainly did not come from your "horseradish mustard."

Now, as I see it, there are two possible explanations for why your mustard did not cut it.

First, it is entirely conceivable the small container of mustard I bought had been on the shelf of the gourmet foods purveyor for quite some time, meaning the fiery mustard heat had dissipated. Certainly this has been seen in other prepared mustards and so it is entirely plausible this was also the case here. If this is in fact the case, I would encourage you to improve your quality control accordingly.

However, it is also entirely conceivable you purposely designed the "horseradish mustard" to be not all-that-spicy, in which case you are committing treason against gastronomy and a fraud against buyers of your "horseradish mustard," which notably failed to cause my eyes to water, my sinuses to clear up, my pores to open or my body to sweat. Indeed, the spice kick I have now is solely due to the liberal application of hot pepper sauce to my dinner. This spick kick is something which your "horseradish mustard" ought to have done.

I'm sorry, but when I applied half the jar of your condiment to my sandwiches, and spread the stuff on with what an impartial observer could only describe as reckless abandon, I expected a spice kick. Yet I did not get it, leaving me a most aggrieved and disappointed customer. If I had wanted a bland mustard whose sole taste could be best described as "a little tangy," I would have picked up some goddamn French's.

Given this particularly unfortunate experience, I would ask that Stonewall Kitchen look at its quality control processes and tinker with its recipes so that when you advertise a mustard as hot, it's actually hot. I don't think that's too much to ask in this wonderful day of economic globalization.

Thank you for your time and attention in this matter.


Posted by Benjamin Kepple at July 30, 2007 07:19 PM | TrackBack
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