I have no idea if that's true - that kings use Maille, I just know that MY particular jars of Maille mustard had assumed the same importance in my sick mind as the crown jewels would to a royal. Listen to what happened... I warn you that this story shows how demented I really am about culinary matters.
I had read somewhere that you should always bring back jars of Dijon mustard from Paris. Not fancy schmancy gilded or crock-potted jars, just plain old jars from the supermarket. Why? Well, just look at the color. It's much yellower than our Dijon. That means that it's much fresher and much HOTTER. It has a real zing. It tastes the way it was meant to taste when those Dijonnaise folks made it.
And so I was delighted when I stopped into a little market by my hotel that had (reasonably priced!) heavy glass jars of Maille mustard. AND you could use them as drinking glasses when they were empty. I was thrilled.
I started imagining H, who usually says nothing about my cooking - wait, that's not true, he always tells me when it's bad - saying "Hey! What a fine mustard you have there. It's spicy and full-bodied. And it's bright yellow color is really enticing. What a fine selection of condiment you've made. I applaud you."
Okay, maybe all the kirs and cognac were making me a bit woozy and wishful, but, really, I was so darned happy with my mustard. I knew the mustard itself would be wonderful - that it would transform my vinaigrettes and anything it touched. And I LOVED the glass that it came in. I pictured myself drinking a robust red wine from it with dinner that featured a bistro-like menu that captured the best of Paris. I clearly was developing a unnatural relationship to my jars of mustard and featuring them in my fantasy life, but I couldn't help it.
I packed the night before we were leaving and I must have experienced brain freeze. My thinking was that these 3 jars were so precious to me, I'll pack them in my carry-on, so that nothing happens to them. I didn't mention them to H, because I wanted to surprise him with the enhancement of my cooking.
Off we go into the airport. Shoes off, jacket off, computer out of its case, through the x-ray machine. As usual H is ahead of me at a different line, already putting his shoes back on. A women takes me aside and points to my carry-on and says to take it there, over to be inspected. I'm still blithely unaware of any problem. I sort of sigh and take it over. The guy goes right to the bottom and suddenly it all clicks! Oh, my goodness, what have I done!!!
I said, hurry, take them out before my husband sees. Too late. What's the problem, H says. I have these, I sheepishly said. The guy was actually nice. He said you can go back out and check them. In WHAT??? A shopping bag? Go through the hour long line again? I don't think so. I let the jars go with a regret I haven't felt since I had to let my first born go to college a plane ride away.
I slumped away from the line, sad and defeated and then...MAD. Really mad. I said "H, do you really think of mustard as a liquid??!" My anger increased. I should have fought more, I should have protested, I should have tried to protect my jars.
Even H, who is usually very tough on idiots (me, in this case), had to admit that, no, he didn't think of mustard in the liquid category. The entire trip home all I could think of was the meals that weren't going to be touched by this yellow ambrosia; the salad dressings that would taste so commonplace; and the wine, that would have to be drunk from a normal wine glass. I was dejected.
I actually went through the various stages of grief over my mustard. Denial - "I can't believe how stupid I was not to pack the mustard. Then anger - "They should never have taken it. IT'S NOT A LIQUID!". I flew right by the bargaining stage...nothing to be done there, right to depression. "I'm so sad I don't have my beautiful jars." Acceptance? Well, not really, not yet. It's still too soon. As Oprah says, in relation to most everything, it's about giving up the dream. And that WILL take awhile.
Postscript: I've been spending hours online looking for these jars. The closest I've gotten is a website from Jersey, no, not NEW Jersey, Jersey, but they don't ship anywhere that I wouldn't need a passport and plane ticket to get to.
Will I EVER be able to fully accept living without my mustard? Right now my answer is no way, no how. But maybe in the fullness of time, I'll understand why this happened and learn from it.