Because a bare cupboard and an empty fridge are sad sights to behold, the Urban Forager hunts through food & wine shops bringing home tasty morsels that make your kitchen table the best place to eat in town.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mint Therapy

Remember the days when throwing your real or imaginary money around was the newest pastime and people indulged in things like vinotherapy without feeling at all like an idiot? For you sensible folk who missed out on this trend, vinotherapy refers to a multitude of spa treatments that involve soaking or rubbing down your body with red wine and its by-products. Supposedly, your skin soaks all those antioxidants right up and it's like dipping into the fountain of youth. I might be able to handle a body scrub made from "antioxidant-rich crushed grape seeds simmered in red wine" (like the one offered at Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley) but if I'm going to soak in a bathtub filled with red wine you better believe I'm bringing a straw. I don't know about you but these days if there is a bottle of wine around, it's going into my wine glass, not my bathtub.

But I'm not one to discard of all ridiculous indulgences just because the economy has changed. Indulging was exactly what was on my mind the other night when I started to fill the tub and then realized I didn't have a drop of bubble bath in the house. But what I did have was a front yard full of spearmint. For weeks I'd been trying to make a dent in the ever-growing cluster of spearmint taking over the garden. I put mint leaves in salads, I put them pasta, I put them in drinks. It made no difference - in terms of over-abundance during the summer, spearmint puts zucchini to shame. But abundance breeds creativity. And that is exactly how dozens of mint sprigs ended up in my tub. The hot water releases a subtle, but invigorating aroma of clean, tingly mint as you bathe. It's like soaking in a giant mug of mint tea. Completely lovely and completely free if you have any spearmint in your yard. Or, in your neighbor's yard. Trust me, they won't mind if you pick some.

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