Mint will always be a flavor that I associate with pleasant memories of both of my grandmothers. My strongest association comes from drinking “Plantation Mint” tea with my mom’s mom. Grandmom drank that tea the way other people guzzle coffee. She would make us a pot in her fancy tiered teapot (a gift from her wedding), and we would eat way too many carbs, usually in the form of Pepperidge Farm cinnamon swirl bread or jelly krimpets. She also kept peppermint hard candies in her pockets and on her coffee table at all times. (I wonder where I got my sweet tooth or my love for all things doughy?) As for my dad’s mom, “Mom Mom,” I remember her always having spearmint gumdrops in a glass candy dish in the living room, and her house had the best spearmint-flavored toothpaste. From time to time I will taste some toothpaste that reminds me of it, and I am right back in her bathroom, a 6-year old girl getting ready for bed before sleeping over at her grandparents’ house in New Jersey. Both of them have been gone for years now, and I miss them terribly – so I am thankful for mint and its powers to send me on a trip down memory lane.
These days mint is one of my favorite things to grow in our rooftop garden throughout the summer (partially because it is a wild beast of a plant and hard to kill). My favorite routine on a weekend morning is to slip out the back door to the garden, snip off a bunch of mint leaves, and bring them back inside to brew in a cup with some plain green tea. Sometimes I add a little bit of honey to it. I prefer sweeter mints like mojito mint or spearmint as opposed to peppermint. This year for the garden I chose chocolate mint (how could I not?) and pineapple mint (both pictured above in my illustration, chocolate on the left and pineapple on the right). The recipes below will surely give my mint plants a workout this summer: [Read more…]