Do You Know the Mustard Man?
A WPR Feature
Produced by Brian Bull
Many people wouldn't dream of having a cookout without mustard...the briny yellow condiment is a prized topper for burgers, brats, and hot dogs. Yet while most folks consider it as little more than a zesty yellow ooze, one Mt. Horeb man literally regards mustard as an institution. Brian Bull profiles Barry Levinson, and his legendary Mustard Museum.
Running time is 3:12
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On October 28th, 1986, Barry Levinson watched aghast as his beloved team, the Boston Red Sox, lost the World Series. Distraught and sleepless, he wandered into an all-night grocery store where he felt the mustard section of the condiments aisle calling to him, "If you collect us, they will come."
Since then, the former Wisconsin assistant attorney general has switched his legal briefs for thousands of mustards, and mustard paraphernalia, which make up his Mustard Museum in Mt. Horeb. The seedy facility just celebrated its 15th year, and is one of the area's main attractions for locals and tourists.
|Levinson and his wife, Patty, say they meet mustard afficionados from across the world. They even got on The Oprah Winfrey show (Oprah's favorite mustard is a dijon walnut mustard called Laurent DuClos). Levinson says mustard is a univeral, time-honored condiment that is even featured in Shakespeare's writings.|
|Beyond the usual mayhem at the Mustard Museum (they also host America's mustard college, Poupon U.) the annual National Mustard Day is held the first Saturday of every August outside their premises. The event features live music, mustard-games, and free hot dogs - well, free as long as they have mustard on them, Levinson explains. If you want ketchup, it's a ten-dollar surcharge.|
WEB EXTRA: Mustard Melodies (MP3 format)
The Mustard Museum Song, performed by Luke Taylor, Jeff Mueller, Andy Siegel, and John Vance. (2:09)
Too Much Mustard, arranged by Cecil Macklin. The dancing duo of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers danced to this zippy number in the 1939 film, The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle. (1:44)
Official site for Mount Horeb Mustard Museum
A photo of last year's National Mustard Day, featuring the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, the Poupon U. Marching Band, and other assorted mustard-madness, including the remarkable mustard custard prepared exclusively by the local Culver's restaurant.