There are some lessons you’ve got to learn the hard way.
Or at least you’ve got to learn them the hard way when you’re in another culture where you just don’t know any better.
It was a warm June day. I was at a conference. There were hotdogs.
It was hardly a 5 course meal but a) I’m easy to please and b) I’m an American (upon reflection, perhaps those two things are synonymous.)
It was a British hotdog so it didn’t come with all of the trimmings. And I say that with contempt and a visible sneer. It was no cheese coney (I’m an Ohio girl) – there wasn’t even any ketchup in sight – but there were buns and lo! what’s that glimmering yelllow condiment I spot out of the corner of my eye? Mustard! That would certainly do.
I slathered my hotdog with the yellow substance, drooling with anticipation at the processed meat feast that lay before me.
I found my table and lifted the hotdog to my mouth. And my eyes started watering.
I pulled the hotdog away trying to make sense of it.
But my stomach could no longer wait. In a state of hunger-induced rage, I lifted my hotdog again. As I did, my sinuses fully opened revealing Pandora’s Box. In retrospect, that should have been a warning sign.
It was too late. I had taken a bite.
My tastebuds reacted like an unsuspecting patient receiving a colonoscopy from a blind man…”What terrible crime have I committed against humanity to deserve this?!”
It was English Mustard and that, my friends, was the day my tastebuds all disintegrated.
Colman’s English Mustard never to be mistaken for American Mustard again.