Actual Mustard Grower Unimpressed by Dijongate


Earlier this week President Obama and Vice-President Biden took a little drive in their thousand-car motorcade over to Ray’s Hell Burger. When Obama ordered his burger, he asked for “a spicy mustard or something like that, or a Dijon mustard, something like that.” That’s right, America — Barack Obama likes Dijon mustard; he always has. Once the video of the incident surfaced, all hell broke loose. Conservative Cornell law professor William A. Jacobson jokingly but painstakingly chronicled Obama’s historical affinity for Dijon mustard on his blog. Sean Hannity mocked Obama for his “fancy burger,” while on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, Mark Steyn scoffed, “He’s a regular guy. He eats a hamburger with Dijon mustard — Dijon mustard!” We wondered what a true mustard expert would think of the whole kerfuffle, so we called Baine Fritzler, a mustard-seed grower and chairman of the Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission.

See, despite the French name, the seeds from almost all Dijon mustard — and actually most mustard in the world — are grown in western Canada. To Fritzler, the argument that Dijon was somehow fancy or elitist doesn’t, well, pass muster. “If he’d asked for a specialized designer mustard you could maybe say that, or for an organic mustard you could maybe have even said that, well, ‘he’s eating high-off-the-hog’ type of thing, but not this,” Fritzler told us. Dijon is “pretty common mustard nowadays,” and probably doesn’t cost “any more than the regular yellow French’s” at the grocery store. Okay, so maybe it’s not a big deal. He must at least be happy that Dijon mustard is getting an endorsement from the president of the United States, right? “I don’t think it makes a damn bit of difference to Dijon mustard,” he said.