- Full Title: DIY Coffee
- Autor: Mark Frauenfelder
- Print Length: 63 pages
- Publisher: Maker Media, Inc; 1 edition
- Publication Date: March 23, 2007
November 22, 2011
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: B00DBIF1FW
- Download File Format | Size: epub | 1,69 Mb
* * *
1. Humus Worshippers
2. The Organic Method
3. A Local Initiative
4. A Spring Mix
5. Mythic Manufacturing
7. Consuming Organic
About the Author
Copyright © 2006 by Samuel Fromartz
Afterword copyright © 2007 by Samuel Fromartz
All rights reserved. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to [email protected] or to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10016.
The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition as follows:
Organic, inc.: natural foods and how they grew/Samuel Fromartz.—1st ed.
Includes bibliographical references.
1. Natural foods industry. 2. Natural foods—Marketing. 3. Farm produce—Marketing. I. Title.
ISBN 978-0-15-603242-1 (pbk.)
To my wife
On January 26, 2005, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston handed down a ruling in a case brought by a small organic blueberry farmer from Maine. Although unreported in the mainstream press, it sent shock waves through the $11 billion organic food industry, which had been growing without interruption for two decades or more. The ruling, it was feared, threatened to destabilize the entire sector by removing the ORGANIC label from a host of packaged goods or forcing the products to be reformulated. The label, which had taken effect a little over two years earlier, lay at the heart of consumer trust in organic food.
The farmer, Arthur Harvey, who was seventy-two, had waged the suit on his own, fed up with what the organic food industry had become—with its mainstream processed and packaged goods clogging the arteries of supermarkets; with what he saw as the abusive actions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversaw the program; with the entire regulatory mess that seemed to miss the point that organic food was supposed to be pure, wholesome, natural, and small-scale, a true alternative to conventional food. Somewhere along the way, organic food had gone hell-bent for growth, taking a turn away from the ideals that had given birth to the movement.
But rather than get angry about this state of affairs, Harvey had holed up on his farm in Hartford, Maine, and decided to get even. He knew the entire body of organic regulations, since as an organic certifier it was his responsibility to make sure other farmers abided by them, however objectionable he found them. He read through all 554 pages, comparing the rules with the underlying law that governs organic practices, the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. He found inconsistencies that were strong enough, he thought, to sue the then secretary of agriculture Ann Veneman. Harvey had several complaints, but the most potent focused on the nonorganic synthetic ingredients that the regulations allowed in the processing of organic food, to ease manufacturing. He also objected to the way the rules reduced a 100 percent organic feed requirement when transitioning a cow to organic milk production. These lax practices, he thought, contravened the underlying law and cheapened the purity of organic food.
Harvey’s lawyer told him the fight would cost $250,000—far more money than Harvey had. The $50,000 estimated by an environmental lawyer he contacted next was still too high. But Harvey wasn’t dissuaded. “Since I was trained by the Maine Municipal Association to do my work on the planning board in my town, I knew enough about regulations to see what was wrong with the organic rule,” he said. So he pursued the case on his own for $10,000, filing suit in October 2002, just days after the national organic regulations took effect with great fanfare.
It was not the first time Harvey had gone up against the federal government. As a tax resister opposed to military spending, “especially nuclear weapons, and the export of arms and military forces to many places around the world,” Harvey had refused to file or pay federal income taxes since 1959. His wife, Elizabeth Gravalos, hadn’t paid federal taxes since the 1970s. Instead, they donated time and money to social service and environmental organizations. The IRS had come knocking at their door a couple of times, then seized the family’s property in 1996 and demanded $62,000 in back taxes and penalties—about three times the annual income of the farm. When they did not pay, the IRS took the rare step of auctioning off the property at a town office across the street from their house, with protesters outside. They initially lost the blueberry field to
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nlike modern cookware, there isn’t much that can ruin cast iron. I dare say we could probably circle the Earth with the discarded high-tech, non-stick pans that were accidently overheated and ruined forever. Or scratched and scarred because special tools weren’t used. With scratch-proof cast iron, you merely start over, giving it a new surface. “Good as new again” might be something your great-granny said more than once about the very skillet you have sitting in your attic.
The women of my family brandished cast iron the way a farmer brandishes a pitchfork. My mother’s oversized campfire griddle was a source of pride whenever her kids came back to camp carrying a mess of fish they’d caught.
And no doubt, her kitchen skillet, capable of simmering deer steaks in home-canned tomatoes ’til they were forktender, gave her yet another boast. “Swiss steak,” she’d proclaim after first braising the venison in bacon fat. And her chicken dumplings, fried scones, and raspberry pandowdies were the stuff legends are made of.
In the late ’20s, Granny Rita took my mother, Helen, and my aunt, Dorothy, to the outback in a gas-powered carriage. Back then, you didn’t worry about the weight of your suitcase; you worried about the weight of too much cast iron—three sizes of skillets, one waffle iron, two griddles, two Dutch ovens, a couple of saucepans, and a fire iron.
And no doubt, I inherited my mother’s passion for catching fish.
But more important, I inherited her cast iron that she inherited from her mother, and my daughter will someday inherit from me, and her daughters … on and on. See what I mean? Legendary. It’s not just cookware, it’s Annie Oakley. Daniel Boone. In a league of its own, no other cookware can come anywhere close to giving you chicken so crisp you’ll never think nuggets again or a pot roast so fall-apart tender that no matter how you dice it, you won’t be needing to slice it. Or a Dutch baby so perfectly stand-up crisp around the edges yet silky soft in the middle, the lyrics to “Cry Like a Baby” get stuck in your head.
Come on in and apron up. I’m much obliged to be introducing you to your future life partner.
But first, in honor of the outdoorsy clan I come from, I want to head outdoors for a few pages before kitchen duty takes us back inside.
Who doesn’t love sitting around a campfire?
Chimeneas and fire bowls are good alternatives if you don’t have a place for an outdoor fire pit. A heavy-duty, cast-iron campfire tripod works best with an open bowl.
Or eating a campfire meal?
I contend people bond better without a roof over their heads. And because I’m always on the lookout for dinners that get everyone involved, pie irons allow each person to make and bake her or his own meal. Now, don’t let the “pie” part of these cast-iron devices mislead you. For under $20 each, you can buy waffle, dog ’n’ brat, bread ’n’ biscuit, panini, round hamburger (I use it to roast chicken breasts), and even square “just about anything including toasted pecans” pie irons for your evening escapades, PieIron.com.
My favorite quick campfire treat is to load my square pie iron with a peanutbutter, banana, and chocolate-bar sandwich. After I unload the warm, gooey goodness onto a plate, I top it with vanilla ice cream.
Old-fashioned waffle irons were designed for use with wood cookstoves by removing one of the round top plates so the base of the iron is in direct contact with the fire. But they can also be used outdoors by tucking campfire coals under the lower compartment. The top part of the waffle iron is designed to swivel and turn above the heat for browning on both sides. Make sure your waffle iron is hot and well-oiled before pouring in the batter. Never place it in open flames. And don’t open the iron too soon to peek. When you start to smell the aroma of waffles wafting through the air, they’re done.
A camp Dutch oven has three legs and a flanged, snug-fitting lid so it can be set on a bed of hot coals and then loaded with hot coals on top—an outdoor convection oven! It can be used for baking, stewing, and roasting.
Pssst. Don’t stop with cookware. How about a cast-iron truck bed? (top)
Cast-iron tractor seat stool? (right)
Cast-iron boot puller? (bottom)
Or how about a cast-iron, claw-foot, outdoor bathtub?
Cast-iron backyard sink?
Can you imagine your great-granny’s grin about now?
Heart-Shaped Eggs in a Blanket
To serve up some love for breakfast, butter a slice of bread on both sides and set aside. Over low heat, preheat a 101/2”-round cast-iron griddle. Once griddle is hot, brush with 1 t melted butter. Place bread on griddle and toast for 1–2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Set aside. Lightly butter the inside
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can come together in new ways for a stir-fry, sandwich, or omelet. My children would eat anything I put in a tortilla!
Pantry staples become highly personal over time but should always include broths and stocks, beans and grains, condiments—both savory and sweet—and herbs and spices. I have a number of “pantry meals” I can make at a moment’s notice with what I have on hand. My freezer holds homemade stocks, frozen fruits and vegetables, and several fully-cooked dinners that I rotate into my weekly meal planning. Attach a permanent marker to the inside of a kitchen cabinet or the side of the fridge to write a name and a date on everything going into the freezer. No more soup bones masquerading as a meal.
FAVORITE KITCHEN TOOLS
My microplane grater has to be my favorite kitchen tool. From zesting citrus fruits to grating hard cheeses, I reach for this tool nearly every day. To reduce the chances of a slip, hold the grater horizontally across the rim of a bowl and move the ingredient being grated, but not the grater.
Slow cookers have a dedicated place in my kitchen, and I own several. We all have times when having dinner waiting on us when we get home is the best part of our day. A 6-quart slow cooker is best for a family. Now as an empty nester, I often use a 3½-quart model.
Oven thermometers are often overlooked, but can truly make a dramatic difference in the outcome of a dish. I had convinced myself I was a terrible baker because nothing ever turned out the way that the recipe said it should. My confidence was restored after I discovered that my oven ran nearly 40 degrees too cool! It’s a small investment to increase your success. Instant-read thermometers are affordable and always reassuring when checking for doneness of beef and chicken.
HOW TO TIME A MENU
Preparing a menu where all the dishes are ready to serve at the same time is a bit of an art. The good news is that the outcome always improves with practice. There are some basic strategies that will make this task easier. In the recipe-reading phase of menu planning, look for any clues the author has provided for you—can this recipe be made ahead? How far? Frozen ahead? This lets you know how much in advance that dish can be prepared. Gather the recipes and make a time chart. I always work backward from the particular time I want to serve the meal. Using the menu, here’s my time chart:
SUPPER IS SERVED, CARVE ROAST AT THE TABLE
REMOVE ROAST FROM OVEN
PREPARE VEGETABLE HASH
PUT ROAST IN TO BAKE
PREHEAT OVEN AND MAKE HERB RUB
LET ROAST STAND AT ROOM TEMP ONE HOUR; SET TABLE
Morning of Gathering
BAKE CAKE AND REFRIGERATE UNTIL SERVING
For many of our Sundays throughout the year, it’s “just us.” And often that’s just right. Setting aside some family time for Sunday supper can be simple, or it can be livened up with extra hands in the kitchen. It can also be a good opportunity to set a more formal table to give the kids a little practice learning table manners, especially the kind Grandma wants to see at the holiday table.
I’ve gathered a variety of dishes for supper. Some are quick-fix, such as our Tomato and Feta Shrimp, or nearly hands-off, as with our Slow-Cooker Pork. And our desserts are extra special: Try the Mud Pie Meringue Sundaes, Sumptuous Swoon Pies, or Homemade Marshmallows.
In our family, we would strive to have homework nearly finished before Sunday supper (especially the hands-on projects that took up considerable space on the dining table) so that we could create a relaxed atmosphere. During the meal, we would talk of what we were looking forward to in the coming week, or muse over the outcome of sports games. Discussing social ills and solving world problems were all fair game. Those mealtimes are some of my favorite memories.
BRAISED SHORT RIBS
HOT BACON POTATO SALAD WITH GREEN BEANS
MISSISSIPPI MUD CUPCAKES
Bone-in meats are more tender and flavorful than boneless, and these beef short ribs are no exception. The marinade further ensures tenderness, and the browning of the flour-dredged ribs produces a rich, deep-flavored sauce. Classic potato salad ingredients, with the addition of bacon and green beans, go hand in hand with the lusty short ribs. Sinfully delicious chocolate cupcakes round out this hearty meat-and-potatoes menu.
Plan ahead to allow time to marinate the ribs and for the three hours of braising in the oven. Cook the potatoes any time during the day. You can blanch the greens beans in advance, as well. Refrigerate them separately. When ready to serve, reheat them separately too. Follow the recipe directions to prepare the dressing, and then combine the ingredients. (Adding the vinegar too far ahead of time will turn the green beans an unappealing shade of gray-green.) The cupcakes can be made and ref
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probably came first, and then beer. The earliest fermented fruit juice recorded in history was date wine, and it was very popular. Xenophon described it as ‘a pleasant drink causing headache’. The vine, however, was cultivated and grape wine was prepared as early as the prehistoric Djemdet-Nast period in Mesopotamia, and it was brought into Egypt before 3000 BC. These North African wines found little favour: Martial preferred vinegar, and Strabo claimed that Libyan wine tasted well when mixed with sea water. The Greeks, on the other hand, practised viticulture as an art, and the earliest detailed essays on the subject are by Theophrastus of Eresos (c. 372–286 BC), a pupil of Aristotle. An earlier treatise by Democritus of Abdera is unfortunately lost. Accounts of wine growing were also given by a number of Latin authors, notably Cato (234–149 BC), Varro (116–27 BC) and Columella (fl. 60 BC), who was born in Cadiz, though his treatise is based on grape growing in Italy.
The wild vine, in its various species, was widely distributed throughout the temperate regions of the world, and fossil remains have been found as far north as Iceland. It was first methodically cultivated in eastern Europe, in the regions of the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea. There is no reason to believe it was indigenous to Spain; nor do we know who brought it there. Tradition has it that it was brought by the Phoenicians or by Greek settlers in the sixth or fifth century BC but recent research on pollens has indicated that vines were cultivated by indigenous people before they came. The Phoenicians and Greeks, however, could well have brought their own wine grapes with them, and there has even been a theory that the name of Jerez is Greek in origin. One of the greatest wines of history was malmsey, the Byzantine dessert wine produced in the Peloponnese and exported from Monemvasia – the same wine in which the unfortunate Duke of Clarence was drowned. One of the centres of viticulture in those days was the Persian city of Shiraz, which was a possible source of any vines imported by the Greeks. What could be more reasonable than to name their new town after that city? And so, perhaps, Jerez was named by the same process as New York and New Orleans, not to mention Toledo, Ohio. Such a suggestion would have been scorned by Richard Ford. He condemned authors who ‘to show their learning’ derived the word sherry from Greek, and added ‘to have done so from the Persian Shiraz would scarcely have been more far-fetched’. One can only speculate, but modern scholars are sure there is no connection.
Phoenician rule was so disturbed by the hostility both of the natives and of the Greek settlers that they had to call to their allies the Carthaginians for help. Hamilcar came to the rescue, followed by Hasdrubal and Hannibal, but the plan miscarried: not content merely to give aid, the Carthaginians expelled the Phoenicians and took the colony as conquerors, only to lose it again to the power of Rome during the second Punic War. But even for Rome the conquest was not easy. Although the civilized Phoenicians and Carthaginians gave way easily, the native tribes offered terrible resistance and guerrilla warfare continued for two hundred years.
Livy recorded, in his twenty-eighth book, that the population of Rome was alarmed by a series of most terrifying omens:
In a state where the greatest anxiety prevailed … accounts of many prodigies were received; that Mater Matuta at Satricum had been struck by lightning. The people of Satricum were no less terrified by two snakes gliding into the temple of Jupiter by the very doors. A report was brought from Antium, that bloody ears of corn had been seen by the reapers. At Caere a pig with two heads had been littered, and a lamb weaned which was both male and female. Intelligence was brought that two suns had been seen at Alba, and that light had suddenly appeared during the night at Fregellae. An ox was reported to have spoken in the Roman territory. A copious perspiration was said to have exuded from the altar of Neptune, in the Flaminian circus; and the temples of Ceres, Safety, and Quirinius were said to have been struck by lightning … the extinction of the fire in the temple of Vesta struck more terror upon the minds of men than all the prodigies which were reported from abroad, or seen at home; and the vestal, who had the guarding of it for that night, was scourged by the command of Publicius Licinius the pontiff.
When eventually the Romans captured Spain they found many vineyards, but the favourite drink of the Iberians was a kind of mead.
Jerez has been identified with the Roman city of Ceritium, itself perhaps a romanization of Xera, and there are many Roman remains in the district, especially at Sanlúcar. During Roman domination, viticulture advanced very rapidly and the area soon became renowned for its wine: in the archaeological muse
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I often make this as an effortless potato substitute, if that makes sense, and here’s how. You cook the orzo, about ¼–⅓ cup per head as an accompanying starch, following the package instructions but check a couple of minutes before the pasta’s meant to be ready. Before draining, reserve some pasta-cooking water and when the orzo is draining, melt a little butter in the saucepan, and whisk in a little of the starchy cooking water to help make an emulsion. Add salt and pepper to taste, tip in the drained pasta, and beat in a sprinkling of grated Parmesan to taste and as much of the pasta-cooking water as you need to make sure the pasta grains are just coated with a lightly flavorsome gleam of sauce.
With this easy orzo, the pasta water comprises most of the sauce, but elsewhere in the book, you will find this technique of holding back some pasta-cooking water to help bind a sauce to the pasta—and it is a particularly Italian technique. Please, promise me that you will get into the habit of doing this every time you cook pasta. Indeed, you should make yourself incapable of draining pasta without first lowering a small cup into the cooking water to remove and reserve some for the sauce.
If it makes your life easier (not too much bubbling away on the stove), when you’re feeding a lot of people, you can follow a pasta-cooking tip from Anna Del Conte: the Vincenzo Agnesi method, which reduces the risk of overcooking and is as follows. Bring your water to a boil, add salt, then tip in the pasta, stirring well to make sure it’s all in and not clumped together. Once the water comes back to a boil, let the pasta cook for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover the pan with a clean, thin kitchen towel (not a waffled-textured one) and clamp on a tight-fitting lid. Let the pasta stand like this for as long as the package tells you to cook it normally. When the time is up, drain the pasta, remembering to remove a small cupful of cooking water before doing so.
My only remaining word of wisdom on this subject is also from Anna Del Conte and it is that the water you cook pasta in should be as salty as the Mediterranean. Contemporary dietary mores could not run more counter to such a recommendation; you, of course, are free to act on my advice or ignore it, as you see fit.
The only time that I am in accordance with the anti-salt brigade is when I cook rice, apart from when it’s in a risotto. What I have mentioned within this book, but not given a recipe for, however, is a non-risotto rice, the black Venere rice from Italy that adds glamour, to be sure, but more important, is easy to cook and has a gloriously comforting aromatic flavor. I haven’t offered a recipe, because you don’t need one, but it would be helpful to have a method. So here goes. For 2–4 people (it will stretch to 4, but I love it left over to make for a very unItalian rice salad, so I cook no less if there are two of us eating) you need 1 cup of black rice to 1½ cups of cold water. Put both in a saucepan (salting if you wish) and when the contents of the pan come to a boil, clamp on a tightly fitting lid, turn the heat down to very, very low, and cook for 30 minutes. If, by that time, all the water is not absorbed, then turn off the heat, remove the lid, drape with a clean kitchen towel, clamp the lid back on, and leave to stand for 5–10 minutes. And you can leave it standing for up to half an hour.
• • •
NOTE TO THE READER
Before I finally let you into the kitchen, there are a few things I am either honor or (disagreeably) duty bound to tell you, namely:
Always be sure to read a recipe right through before starting to cook.
The (N) symbol above the list of ingredients in a recipe indicates that you’ll find information in the Notes about preparing ahead, freezing, or keeping.
I often use already grated Parmesan, even if it is shaming to admit it out loud. If you want to adopt this bad habit of mine, then do, but please be sure the cheese is fresh Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano from Italy and comes in a resealable container to be kept in the refrigerator.
When you have people coming for dinner, make sure you get any ovens heated or pans of water filled and hot well in advance. I often do this quite a long time before. Once the pasta or vegetable water has come to a boil, I turn off the heat, but leave it with a lid on to keep warm. When it’s time to eat, you can bring the water to a boil again, salting and proceeding with the recipe, without making everyone wait for 40 minutes to eat. (But see also tips for pasta cooking, opposite.)
All eggs used in these recipes are extra-large, organic, though sometimes, where mentioned, I use pasteurized egg white from a carton. Dishes containing raw or partially cooked eggs should not be served to those with weak or compromised immune systems, such as pregnant women, young children, or the elderly, unless you
treatment of bronchitis, pleurisy and pneumonia. It had long been used for coughs (hiccoughs, too, a pinch of mustard in cold water) – Culpeper mentions mustard mixed with honey as ‘good for old coughs’, while another ancient remedy has the seed boiled with dried figs in strong ale.
Mustard bath advertisement from the Tatler, 1927
Despite mustard’s great helpfulness to the stomach’s digestive powers, taken in too large a quantity, it is one of nature’s most efficient laxatives (particularly the white seed). It is also a powerful emetic. Indeed it is one of the few emetics which also act as a stimulant, and is therefore extremely useful in cases of poisoning where there is also breathing or heart failure (but we must stress that while a solution of mustard in warm water will, in an emergency, act quickly as an emetic, it is not a substitute for a doctor).
On a less dramatic level, mustard baths are still a useful, and relaxing, remedy for stiffness after extreme physical exertion, although for a long soak we would suggest half of one of Colman’s packets of specially prepared Bath Mustard, unless you wish to emerge looking like a lobster! For unbroken chilblains, a foot bath is similarly efficacious; mustard ointment was the great eighteenth-century treatment for this unpleasant complaint, both in England and in France. Mustard baths were also advised for those seeking a fine complexion, and since mustard does open the pores, thus allowing the skin to be thoroughly cleansed, it is a reasonable theory.
Today, mustard is not much used in medicine except by the homeopaths, who use mainly the black seed, for ear, nose and throat complaints, though also for colic and urinary problems. The white seed is used for problems with the oesophagus and the middle ear.
COMMERCIAL MUSTARD MAKERS:
Il n’est ville se nom Dijon Il n’est moustarde que à Dijon.
FOURTEENTH-CENTURY FRENCH PROVERB
The first reference to mustard in the Dijon archives occurs in 1336, when a whole cask was consumed at a banquet. Mustard mills, mortars for making mustard, and pots of mustard are frequently mentioned in wills and inventories, and in 1347, we find in the town records a sum of ‘12 francs’ for sending mustard to the Queen. Dijon mustard was obviously considered the finest: in 1354, the Receiver-General of Burgundy bought mustard seed and vinegar to make 200 lb of mustard, sent in four barrels to King Jean.
The first ordinance relating to the vinegar-mustard makers of Dijon was drawn up in 1390. The date, and use of the word ‘mustard’, must dispel the myth, beloved by Dijon, of the word’s origin. For it had only been nine years since Charles VI had rewarded the city, and his uncle, Philip the Bold, for sending 1,000 men to the ever-continuing fight against Flanders. The reward was a coat of arms with the motto Mout me tarde, I ardently desire, on a banner underneath. The story goes that the Dijonnaise were linguistically careless. The middle word me had appeared below the other two on the loop of the banner, and was subsequently dropped, producing a new motto – Mout tarde, much burning, not inappropriate to the town’s main claim to fame. The more usual derivation is from the Latin, must (much) or mustum (the newly fermented wine juice) and ardens (burning). Or maybe the Celts gave us the word with their mwstertt (to give off a strong odour).
The specifications of the ordinance were almost identical to the instructions given some thirteen and a half centuries earlier by Columella of Gades in his De Re Rustica (AD 42): ‘Clean the mustard seed with great care, sift and swill with cold water . . . leave to soak in water for two hours then stir, and after squeezing the seeds in one’s hands, throw them into a mortar . . . and crush with the pestle. When well ground, stir the paste towards the middle and flatten same with the hand. When well compressed, form grooves in the paste and pour nitrated water on hot coal previously placed in the grooves so as to rid the grain of all its bitterness and to preserve it from mould. Heat slightly so that the humidity disappears completely and pour strong white vinegar on the mustard stirring the mixture with the pestle and pass through a sieve.’ The principles are still startlingly similar. The use of hot coals is especially interesting – for it is not so much bitterness that is removed by the heat as pungency. For all of Dijon’s mustard starts life as ‘extra forte’ (extra hot or strong). It is not extra pressings that make some mustards hot, but heating (for one tenth of a second at 130°C, on the pasteurization principle) that makes some mustards mild.
Philippe le Hardi, Duke of Burgundy 1364-1408.
It was in 1390 that the first ordinance was drawn up relating to mustard and vinegar makers in Dijon.
Coat of arms of Moutardiers, 1634. Granted in 1634 by Louis XIV
1407 (according to Gar