This Sunday, at the British School of Beijing’s Christmas Fayre, you’ll find a curious little booth staffed by seven ladies who really want you to try their mustard. Don’t be fooled by the product’s benign yellow smoothness; its story is one of friendship and secrets that originates in the faraway place called Ohio, US.
In Ohio, a woman named Mrs. Dupp gave the mustard recipe to her best friend of 25 years, Mrs. Tanner, as a token of love and respect. Mrs. Dupp made Mrs. Tanner swear not to divulge the recipe to anyone else. Little did Mrs. Tanner know, she would gain a very persistent daughter-in-law who ended up moving to China. She managed to convince Mrs. Tanner that giving her the recipe didn’t count as breaking a promise, since she was on a completely different continent.
And so, in Beijing, the daughter-in-law continued the tradition by gifting the mustard to six close friends of her own. She did not give in, no matter how much they begged her for the recipe. Then, one day, one of her friends became ill and had to go to the hospital. Knowing that the daughter-in-law couldn’t refuse her request, the other women told the sick friend to ask for the secret recipe. What else was she going to do? With Mrs. Dupp’s permission, she gave out the recipe to her little circle.
Today, the story continues as all seven women gather to whip up a batch just in time for the holidays. They’ve prepared 90 jars of Mrs. Dupp’s mustard (RMB 40/jar) for the Christmas Fayre, with all proceeds going to charity. For the first time ever, Beijingers will have a chance to try out this (formerly) well-kept secret. The makers of Mrs. Dupp’s suggest trying it with everything from ham to turkey, sausages, crispy skin pork, and Peking duck.
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