Day or night, the first step in the ritual, even before we bought a program, was to get a hot dog, dribble mustard over it (never ketchup!), and then pack in spoonfuls of sweet relish. The mustard was the bright yellow kind we knew as “ballpark
mustard,” bright, light, and especially tangy. Peanuts kept us going during the game, and another hot dog during the seventh-inning stretch was mandatory.
I took my son back to Boston, and to Fenway Park, this past Summer, a longer trip than my former bus rides, and a long stretch of memory lane too. Nothing much had changed, except that we had better seats than mom had been able to afford: the organ boomed out the same old songs, celebrities in the audience were called out by the announcer, and the hot dogs were delicious, the best ever. After a couple of decades of using European-style, grown-up Dijon mustard, the ballpark mustard was a revelation, an instant portal to the past, lively, fresh, and nicely biting. My son, who hates the other stuff, thought it was terrific, but then combining it with the sweet relish was, he thought, about the best idea anybody’s ever had.
Now, back home, we have a big squeezy bottle of French’s “Classic American” yellow mustard in the fridge, right next to the