On our way to the coast last week for a much-needed vacation, we stopped by Hardee’s in Ringgold, Ga. — just south of Chattanooga — for a quick lunch.

I asked the cashier for my usual, chicken tenders, with honey mustard. She informed me that the restaurant was out of honey mustard. My immediate first thought was, why haven’t you closed and locked your doors?!?, but I refrained from asking it aloud. Instead I said thanks, but no thanks, and asked her to cancel my order.

The lady looked at me incredulously from across the counter. “You’re leaving because of honey mustard?!?”

My response: “Um, yeah?”

It came out as a question because I was a little bit in disbelief that I share the planet with someone who doesn’t see the necessity of honey mustard.

The cashier was actually quite rude, but I didn’t mind; I had more important things on my mind . . . like where to find fried chicken and honey mustard.

Listen, when Moses wrote the book of Genesis, I’m positive he forgot to mention that after God rested on the seventh day, He created honey mustard on the eighth. In fact, if Eve had fried up that old serpent and served him up with honey mustard, imagine how much better off mankind would have been.

Honey mustard is that important. I’ve eaten it on everything but ice cream . . . and if the peanut butter and bacon milkshake hadn’t been such a flop, I like to think that Sonic would have introduced a honey mustard shake next.

Twenty-four hours later, I was sitting at Schooners Beach Club in Panama City Beach eating crab cakes, and I would have replaced the rémoulade with honey mustard if it had been a menu option.

Back in Ringgold, I’m sure there was a disgruntled Hardee’s cashier who was still griping to her coworkers about the rude customer who walked out because she didn’t have honey mustard. But when she said she had no honey mustard, she might as well have said that she had no chicken tenders. After all, like pulled pork without barbecue sauce, tea without sweet, cream without ice, chicken without honey mustard is just not the same.

The only reason honey mustard doesn’t have its own space on the food pyramid is because it’s drizzled across the top. Yeah, it's that important.

■ Ben Garrett is Independent Herald editor. Contact him at bgarrett@ihoneida.com.