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Cleveland Bertman's Stadium Mustard--More Info

Mazy | Apr 23, 2002 06:22 PM

After reading the posts below, I saw this on our local food forum. It's some history of the mustard and a great recipe. The writer is the host of our forum and a published chef. Something to read while you enjoy the greatest mustard on earth, if you can get it out there:

This was on Cleveland.com in an Ingredients page I did before the forum was around. ---- Linda Griffith Ingredients July 1997 Bertman Original Ball Park Mustard

Facts: What’s a hot dog or a salami sandwiches without it? Whether it’s the yellow kind or the good brown stuff, a generous dollop of mustard has become is the sandwich sauce of choice for most Americans. The name mustard is Latin in origin---mustum ardens, meaning burning must. In ancient Rome, the seeds from mustard plants were pounded with unfermented grape juice (must), making a fiery hot sauce. Part of the cabbage family, mustards come in many guises. But there are 3 seed producing plants that have particular culinary importance to us today . Black mustard seeds, coming from plants that are over 7 feet tall, have the biggest, most robust flavor. These are especially important to Indian cuisines. Brown seeds, almost as robust as the black, are increasing in popularity because the plant is easier to handle than the more than 7 foot tall black seed plants. Brown mustards are usually made from these seeds. White mustard seeds, native to the Mediterranean region, are the mildest of the three. Prepared mustard, or mustard in paste form, actually appeared on tables in ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece. Legend has it that Pope John XXII, who moved the Papacy headquarters to Avignon early in the 14th century, even had a private mustard maker. Many centuries later, mustard is still popular in France. It is brown in color, big in flavor---quite different from the myriad wimpy yellow mustards, so popular in our country and made from yellow seeds. But things are changing. As more Americans celebrate “big flavors”, more are buying brown mustards. And more brown mustards are being made here.

Source: Joe Bertman’s Original Ball Park Mustard

Bob Costas takes it by the case. Sport’s Illustrated callled it “the best in the American League”. Jay Leno has been asking about it. And we’ve seen that Indians fans in San Francisco carry their own bottles to the Oakland ballpark every time the Indians play there. Bertman Mustard is certainly Cleveland’s most famous mustard. According to his daughter Pat, Clevelander Joe Bertman was the first person in the country to sell Kosher-style pickles in jars rather than in bulk barrels. He began his food “manufacturing” business early in this century, making a wide variety of vinegars, pickles and relishes. In time he expanded to manufacturing mustard, brown mustard, selling it in large bottles to restaurants and food stands; it was not a retail product. With a big German and eastern European population here, brown mustard was desirable. By 1930 Bertman Mustard was the official one at League Park. When the Indians moved to Cleveland Stadium, Bertman Mustard went, too. Baseball, Bertman and hot dogs were a natural team. The mustard is brown and tangy, thick but not runny. The flavors are intense and rich, with, as they say in the wine business, a long and pleasing finish. It’s made from the now very pricey brown mustard seeds. It was a demanding, but pleasing business, even though there were no children who wanted to continue it. No matter the vicissitudes of the teams, hot dogs and Bertman were a part of the Cleveland Stadium family for decades. The problems developed when someone suggested that he go retail. The business almost died. And while we’ll not detail that sordid story, we will mention that from 1989 until the Jake opened, Bertman was banished from Cleveland Stadium. Joe Bertman did live to see his daughter Pat Mazoh take over. Manufacturing is now done in southern Ohio according to the family formula. Pat’s practiced taste buds force them to adhere to her high standards. “I still taste every batch,” she said. And she proudly announced that Bertman Mustard received the 1st gold medal at the 1997 Napa Valley Mustard Festival, the academy awards of mustard. Today, Bertman Mustard is sold both wholesale and retail. The retail package is about to switch its glass look for a nifty small, squat (its well in refrigerator doors) squeezable container. Jacobs Field uses about 3500 gallons every summer, along with more than 1/2 million squeezable individual packages. The mustard is in all of the region’s supermarkets, too. Marc’s discount stores buy 810 cases at a time---the times being more often in summer than in winter, naturally. Bertman mail order business is also vast, considering that Bertman fans are wherever major league baseball and NFL football are played. But when asked how much mustard is sold every year, she shuddered. “You’ll have to believe me, I don’t keep track. Life is too short to fill my head with figures.”

Joe Bertman’s Original Ball Park Mustard 1-800-749-4460 for mail order information

Linda’s Summer Garden Sandwich with Smoked Ham, Cheese & Brown Mustard

This sandwich has all kinds of possibilities, limited only by your creativity and garden. It is great with soft cheese as well as hard ones. It’s even good with goat cheeses and blues. Make some cold tomato soup and you have a nifty summer supper.

Serves 2

4 large, but thin, slices of good black bread 2 slices unsalted butter, softened A handful of mixed exotic greens such as mustard leaves, arugula, and mizuna leaves 4 large fresh basil leaves 6 large nasturtium leaves 4 nasturtium flowers 4 large, thin slices of smoked ham or some imported prosciutto 4 large, thin slices of good, interesting cheese, or 2 slices of 2 varieties 4 thin slices garden-fresh heirloom tomato, such as Hillbilly or Big Rainbow Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 2-3 tablespoons brown mustard, preferably Bertman’s

Lightly butter 2 slices of black bread, setting 2 aside. Place other ingredients in layers as listed, dividing them equally between the 2 pieces of bread. Generously spread mustard over underside of remaining 2 slices of bread. Slice each sandwich in half and serve.

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