MANTENO, Ill. (AP) — Sharon Moses is sure to turn you yellow.
Just as with her husband, her friends and even her hairdresser, the 42-year employee of Plochman's Mustard in Manteno is known across state lines as "The Mustard Lady." It's a title she's earned as a decades-long aficionado of the yellow, and sometimes brown, condiment, which she eats and cooks with, uses as a salve for indigestion and shares with everyone she knows.
No, this isn't a marketing campaign. Just walk into her office unannounced like The Daily Journal did recently and you'll find her with a sandwich and a bottle of Plochman's mustard.
"I even put it in a cake once and it worked out well," said Moses, who heads Plochman's management information systems and customer service departments. It was a yellow cake, and she replaced the cooking oil with mustard. "When I see my hairdresser, I always know I got to bring her a bottle of mustard."
Plochman's 100,000-square-foot production plant in Manteno produces 11 mustard products, which are distributed to retailers nationally. It has been there since 1997. Moses has been with the company since it was located in Chicago in 1972. She is retiring next year.
"I certainly hope they help me get mustard when I can't find it," Moses said. That would be quite unfair to the woman who designed the system thousands of customers use to communicate with the company, a technology-based customer tracking system.
Plochman's launched new products based on information culled from the system and brought products to markets where customers have demanded it, she said. A lifetime supply of mustard would be the perfect retirement perk.
She uses it with every sausage or pork product, with chicken, vegetables and for dips and salad dressings. If she gets indigestion, she swears by a spoonful of mustard for relief.
"I'm always coming up with something different," Moses said. That's true even when it comes to vacation.
Every year, she mans the mustard wheel at the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin. The occasion? National Mustard Day on Aug. 1, where people can take two spins for a dollar for the chance to win a bottle of Plochman's Mustard. Her grandchildren, who live nearby, are regular contestants.
Her favorite variety?
"It depends on what I'm eating," Moses said. She's partial to the company's traditional brands, including Plochman's Natural Stone Ground, Spicy Horseradish and Plochman's signature yellow mustard sold in the original yellow barrel.
All come from company recipes that haven't changed since the late 1800s. The company started in 1852 and was purchased by the Plochmans in 1882.
"We changed the face of our label several times, but the product inside is always the same - delicious mustard," Moses said. "Why mess with perfection?"