Why it Works: The Heat is On
Mustard seed, which is ground to make the yellow ballpark condiment as well as the fancy brown variety, is a member of the cabbage family. Like its relatives, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, mustard can be quite potent if not prepared correctly. The offending ingredient responsible for its notorious smell—isothiocyanate—is activated by heat and water. This chemical is released when ground mustard is mixed with hot water or when cabbage is overcooked. Although pleasantly sharp in small amounts, mustard can be chokingly strong if too much is used. To avoid overpowering your guests, remember that once heated, ground mustard or crushed mustard seed gets hotter as it stands.