Jun 12

Cheap food we love: cress that is actually mustard

Pumpkin Publog8 comments • 3,793 views

Actually, I’m not sure this is totally universal to the site; some of our most esteemed contributors fall into the strangely misguided category of ‘mustard hatas.’ Even so, I would hope that even the most vehement detractor of the second most important food group would say that there is something brilliant about cress-that-is-actually-mustard.

Behold, the pale army

In order to maintain the high standards of impartial journalism this site is known for, I shall look at cress-that-is-actually-mustard across three categories:

Anyone with kids will be able to tell you that it is extremely cheap because it’s the sort of thing they get sent home with to look after as some initial citizenship project. But also, you can grow it on loo roll. There are not many other foods I have managed to germinate and rear to health on an old bit of plastic packaging and some purloined bathroom tissue and there’s something heroic about a crop that will.

Even if, like me, you’ve entered the era of lazy bastardry where remembering to water some seeds on your windowsill every day feels a bit too difficult then it’s 27p from even the swankiest supermarket for a little box that, allowing for regrowth, can do you quite a long time if managed carefully. Even if you don’t, it was 27p for goodness’ sake, stuff it all into your mouth at once if you like.

The Great British Menu being on while I make dinner has somewhat altered the standard of what’s made it onto the plate lately. These days my poor boyfriend can’t eat breakfast without me stuffing sprigs of rosemary into it and dinner involves a whole new level of fannydangle. The addition of a few humble sprigs of cress-that-is-actually-mustard can make even yr most bogstandard dinner look a touch gourmet though and it has enough flavour to justify its presence. Obviously, coriander or parsley or chives can do it just as well but there’s something hugely pleasing about the way cress-that-is-actually-mustard falls, curled and delicate, that completely belies the fact it may well have been grown on loo roll.

Cress-that-is-actually-mustard has another cheap role, though. Go now, into your local sandwich shop and buy an egg and cress-that-is-actually-mustard sandwich and kiss it with your mouth because it tastes lovely. All the loveliness of cress. And it will be the cheapest sandwich in there. And god bless it.

From growing it on bits of tissue as a child to my ludicrous joy at seeing it regrow on the windowsill even now to the way it is just slightly exciting because it is little tangy plants and you eat them and you have to get the scissors out to give it a haircut and all the other twee, twee joys of cress-that-is-actually-mustard it is hard, unless you are among the aforementioned mustard h8ters, to have a beef with cress.

(unless you want to actually put it on beef, in which case it works very well as a garnish for roast)


  1. 1
    Kat but logged out innit on 14 Jun 2012 #

    You are Ian Cress from the Cress Marketing Board AICM£5.

  2. 2
    Hazel on 14 Jun 2012 #

    The cress marketing board would never admit to it actually being mustard!

  3. 3
    Tommy Mack on 14 Jun 2012 #

    ‘and at only 27p a punnet, Cress is the snack that won’t put a stress on your pocket, Stew’

  4. 4
    thefatgit on 14 Jun 2012 #

    Not “citizenship” but science.

    I remember growing 3 batches of cress in primary school to learn about photosynthesis. Batch 1 was grown on a windowsill which got regular sunlight. Batch 2 was grown in a part of the classroom which had the least sunlight. Batch 3 was grown in the stationery cupboard and exposed to no sunlight at all.

    Of course, the results showed that the lush, green windowsill cress had grown the tallest. The less fortunate shady cress wasn’t as lush or green or tall for that matter. And the pathetic cupboard variety was a collection of yellow stumpy shoots that might have thought about becoming cress once, but gave up and went back to bed.
    The conclusion being that plants needed plenty of sunlight in order for photosynthesis to happen, as well has growing up to become healthy and tasty cress.

  5. 5
    Alan not logged in on 14 Jun 2012 #

    science teachers never fake long term biology experiments like this OH NO

  6. 6
    sükråt tanned rested unlogged and awesome on 14 Jun 2012 #


    This was before Thatcher snatched all the milk and Blair/Cameron/Gove assigned scientific/nutritional guardianship of our young persons’ academies to Coca Cola.


  7. 7
    Emma on 14 Jun 2012 #

    I sent H to school with a tub of germinating cress for the show&tell table during ‘growing’ week. I wanted to grow some on cotton wool in the top of a toy plastic skull or in the eye sockets but he wouldn’t let me :(

  8. 8
    Tommy Mack on 14 Jun 2012 #

    Spent this afternoon in safety training for Liquid Nitrogen: the coolest stuff ever! Everyone got a go at shrinking a balloon right down as the air contracts and liquifies, only for the ballon to come back to life like a Hammer House of Horror monster as it warms up again. You can even throw the stuff at each other as long as you avoid the face and aren’t wearing peep-toed shoes!

    Definitely going to do some cool demos and quick: our dewar of Nitrogen will aparently evaporate at a rate of a litre a day!

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)


Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page