It is said that mustard is the second most used spice in the United States today, brought here by immigrants from all over the world and sold in tins and glass jars. For National Mustard Day on August 1st, we are staying close to home by honoring the old and the new companies that operate here in New York City, as well as around the country.

It is said that the Romans were probably the first to experiment with the preparation of mustard as a condiment. They likely exported the mustard seed to Gaul, and by the 10th Century, monks of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris were using this knowledge to create their own interpretation. Mustard makers appeared in Paris as early as 1292, and Dijon, France became a center for Mustard making by the 13th Century.
In 1777, one of the most famous, Dijon mustard’s Grey-Poupon (now owned by Kraft) was formed between Maurice Grey, a mustard maker, and Auguste Poupon, his financial backer. The English developed their own style, believed to have originated in Tewksbury in the mid 1600s. Shakespeare, a Mustard lover himself, wrote (in Henry IV, part II), “His wit is as thick as Tewksbury Mustard!” The Germans’ first mustard factory was founded in Düsseldorf in 1726, which is still their center of mustard production today.

9. A. Bauer’s Mustard, Queens

Image Courtesy of A. Bauer Mustard

August Bauer began making mustard in 1888 in a shop on Metropolitan Avenue in Queens. He concentrated on two products – pure prepared mustard and mustard with horseradish, while his two sons delivered the condiments to local shops during the Great Depression. In 1931, this much-loved brand earned the Gold Medal at the International Fancy Food Exposition in Paris. Now, four generations later, A. Bauer is still family owned and sold through retail shops.