dirk • Link
To make Mustard.
Chuse good clear Seed, and pick it, and wash it clean in cold Water; drain it, and rub it very dry in a clean Cloth; then pound it in a Mortar, with the best white-wine Vinegar, and strain it, not too thin, and keep it always close cover'd, or it will lose it's Strength.
---Court cookery. R. Smith, 1725.
Cutting the mustard:
There is much speculation regarding the origin of this idiom, but the most reputable sources trace its usage from the late 1600s when the phrase “keen as mustard” was used to describe someone of high standards.
Combined with “cutting,” which is often used in place of “exhibiting” (think: cutting a fine figure), and you get the modern, idiomatic equivalent of “exhibiting high standards.”
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.