I’ve come around to the view that American yellow mustard (iconic brand: French’s) is actually a wonderful thing. For years and years I was a mustard snob and boycotted the yellow mustard of my childhood. It’s not sharp or hot, is sweet, and has a high vinegar content, which makes it good for hot dogs and hamburgers.
Don’t get me wrong, I still keep a variety of classic real mustards in my fridge:
But the sad fact is that New York is the only American city where brown mustard completely displaces yellow mustard. You can’t even get yellow mustard at low-brow diners. And if you want to have a real West-Coast style burger (thin patties, toasted buns, pre-condimentized and everything layered on in exact proportions), then you need yellow mustard. (You know, West Coast burgers, the kind they serve in many parts of the country, such as we’ve posted about at Rally’s, on the Matablog, or even in New York as we’ve posted about at the Shake Shack, on the Bulletin Board, or just go to In-N-Out Burger if you’re lucky enough to live in a part of the US that’s near one.)
I bought some French’s and decided to try it on the James Beard burger, which as you will recall is supposed to take no condiments except salt and pepper, filled as it is with heavy cream and grated onions and basically seared on the outside and raw on the inside. I also added an onion slice and some sweet bread-and-butter pickles to attempt to get close to a West-Coast effect.
The result looks only mildly appetizing:
It tasted like two good things put on top of one another and not really combined into a single experience. I think I need to make a simpler burger, maybe one of those “don’t handle it very much” types of modern patty, and then revisit this topic.