One of this morning’s tasks was cleaning up my little herb garden. The garden sits on the porch in an old wine keg that’s been cut in half. Every year mint wants to take over the garden unless I keep it cut back. However, it smells wonderful and can be used in so many curious ways that I forgive its pushiness and persistence in its quest for domination of the space. Each year as I cut it back, I know with certainty that mint will find a way to reestablish itself once again in my garden and so later appear on my plate.
Just the other evening I chopped some mint and sprinkled it over buttered potatoes. Yum. And mint mixed with ground lamb, feta cheese, and a bit of chopped garlic makes a delicious burger. People even add a bit of chopped mint to minestrone soup to give it a bit of personality. But, of course, the easiest way to use mint is as a garnish, especially with fresh fruit.
When writing Beyond Salt and Pepper and thinking about mint in only a culinary way, I had forgotten that the word “mint” also names a place where money is coined as well as a descriptor for something that’s in perfect condition. This noticing led to all sorts of little thought trails about the meaning of words and how they go together or else have no connection whatsoever. Perhaps one could make the connection that the smells of new money and mint are enticing indeed.