For every meal, the staff set pitchers of cool water on the table, its delights enhanced by slices of lemon, cucumber and sprigs of mint.
I fell in love.
We have great water at our house, spring-fed, cold on the hottest days, no chemicals whatsoever. Yeah, we’re spoiled.
But that hint of mint? Mmmm. The barest breath of lemon? Nice. And cucumber is one of my all time favorite tastes and smells.
Years ago, I bought a single spearmint plant to add to my expanding gardens. Now all you dirt diggers out there know that there’s no such thing as a single mint plant. I yank this stuff out by the roots from the rhubarb and cat mint every fall and every spring, the mint mocks me by coming up exactly where I thought I’d pulled it.
I regularly harvest the leaves in the fall, drying them for tea for the winter. Mint tea will settle an upset stomach like nothing else and if you have a sore throat, make a very strong cup and you’ll find it’s the best gargle ever. It will even calm down a case of strep.
But in all the years I’ve grown it, I’ve never used it to enhance water.
Now every morning, I clip four sprigs of mint from the patch near the house, fill a half-gallon pitcher from the tap, add a couple of squirts of lemon juice and set the whole business in the refrigerator to stay cool. It’s always gone by supper.
But what about the cucumbers? Well in this house, they never make it past the peel-slice-salt-and-pepper part of harvesting from the garden, and quite frankly, the mint and lemon are great without the added veggie.
My husband’s now adding mint to the half-and-half (half iced tea, half lemonade) that’s his favorite summer quaff. He puts it into the tea while it’s brewing then strains it out with the tea bags before mixing it all together. The result is one of those “I can’t believe we’ve never done this before” experiences.
But I still don’t think I’m going to have to add mint to my garden.