Fleur-de-TasteOff

My mom and I helped at Tait Farm’s Tomato Festival Taste Off earlier this month. They had an array of 61 varieties, pretty good for a bad tomato summer.

Tait Taste Off by Chris Igo

Tait Taste Off by Chris Igo

The winners were:

  1. Sun Gold
  2. Matt’s Wild Cherry
  3. Mountain Magic (late-blight resistant “salad” tomato)
  4. Pruden’s Purple (of the top 5, the only full-sized tomato)
  5. Jasper

In my garden, Poona Kheera cucumbers and Zephyr summer squash are flooding the beds but our tomatoes are coming on like a droughty trickle. I’m growing several plants from seed given to me by my dad’s cousin Settimio who lives in Italy. One beautiful Cuor di Bue (Bull’s Heart) tomato yielded enough slices for BLTs for mom, Marina and me. We’ve been getting a good many paste tomatoes, but so far, none of my Green Zebras. If it is any consolation, Settimio didn’t have the best tomato season in Northern Italy. Temperatures were in the mid-70s all summer long…but, by the end of July, he had already made 100 jars of tomato sauce and 10 jars of pickled cucumbers, picked 100 zucchini, as well as baskets of raspberries and strawberries, and was looking forward to white and black grape harvest. In mid-August, he planted 300 seedlings of radicchio, Treviso’s famous chicory, which will be ready to eat at Christmas. Makes me feel like a rookie! Laurie Lynch

Belgian Wisdom: The other night we had a few glasses of Prosecco. Marina put the opened bottle back in the refrigerator with the handle of a spoon inserted into the neck of the bottle and the cup of the spoon sticking out. I questioned what she was doing, and she replied, “It’s the Belgian way.” The next evening, we got the bottle out, poured three glasses…and the bubbly was still bubbly! I’m befuddled as to why this would work and plan to make this my September experiment.

Brussels Sprouts Wisdom: A Lemont Farmers Market shopper asked if we sell Brussels sprouts leaves.   I told her we were done selling for the season, but had never heard of eating Brussels sprouts leaves. She said she likes them more than the sprouts themselves. So, the other day when I was making Chard Pie and was short on chard because we’ve been long on nibbling bunnies, I added leaves from my caged (and protected) kale and Brussels sprouts. The “chard” pie was as good as ever. Customers are often the best teachers.

I found my original Swiss Chard Pie recipe in Taunton’s Kitchen Garden magazine in the mid-1990s. Over the years I’ve subtracted a few ingredients and added others, but it remains a family favorite.

Garden 101 Chard Pie

1 bunch (as much as I can hold in one hand) of chard, kale, and/or Brussels sprouts leaves

4 cloves garlic, chopped

Olive oil

1 cup green olives, sliced

6 eggs

½ cup plain yogurt

¾ cup feta cheese

Red pepper flakes, to taste

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray lasagna-size pan with Pam.

Remove leaves from stalks, tearing into 3” pieces, and place in bowl. Chop chard stalks into ½” pieces and sauté with chopped garlic and olive oil in large pan until soft. Add leaves to mixture and place lid on pan until greens are wilted, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and toss in sliced olives.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs with yogurt. Add feta cheese and sprinkle in red pepper. Pour egg mixture over greens and stir, making sure greens are coated. Place mixture in prepared pan and bake about 45 minutes until firm. Slice into squares and serve. Leftovers make a good breakfast, hot or cold.Night-Blooming Cereus

Female Wisdom: The other night there were four (we had a houseguest) crazy ladies dancing in the moonlight at 101 Timber Lane. My mother’s night-blooming cereus (a gift from my VA Beach sister Leslie) was blooming! (Leigh insists it was because she kissed the buds the night before, coaxing them to open before she left town.) Selenicereus grandiflorus is in the cactus family and rather gawky looking 364 days of the year. But on the one night the blooms open it is a starburst of intoxicating fragrance and shimmering beauty. The flowers are so amazing that mention of the plant pops up in books, including Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees and Jerry Spinelli’s Love, Stargirl . After a night’s performance, the blossoms close up and hang limply, exhausted ballerinas in tulle petals of cream and pale pink.Tired

 

Written on Slate: “She reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.” –Anne Dillard

 

Fleur-de-GoldenImage

It is an image I hope will be etched in my mind forever. It was Wednesday, my second market day in August. Three generations–my mom, Marina and I–were sitting at our stall in a former coal bin at the Granary (a grain elevator built in 1885) at the Lemont Farmers Market.

A woman comes up to browse, and I go into my hard-neck garlic spiel, onto Picasso shallot, Zephyr squash, and Poona Kheera cucumber patter, and finally, the Harner Farm apple pitch (my sister Larissa is married to Earle Harner), discussing what little I know about Zestar and Paula Red apples.

Poona Kheera

Poona Kheera

“I’ll take one of those golden cucumbers. My son loves cucumbers,” the woman says. Beside her stands a youngster of about 7 or 8. I explain that Poona Kheera cucumbers are originally from India. They come out of the garden with tiny black bristles that I brush off, and the skin is so tender it doesn’t need to be peeled. She hands the cucumber to her son. He turns it horizontally, like a cob of corn, and bites into it.

As they continue walking down along the row of vendors, the boy snacks on his cucumber. It is one of those I-wish-I-had-my-camera moments. Laurie Lynch

Fritter First-Aid: The garden (and daily rainstorms) have rewarded us with a bounty of cucumbers, squash, and zucchini. To try something a little different, Marina and I made Zucchini Fritters. I found a recipe that called for 1½ pounds of grated squash (salted and towel dried), one egg, ¼ cup flour, and added chives and chopped garlic. Made a dipping sauce—3 T. of rice vinegar, 1 T. Tamari, 1 tsp. sugar and a couple shakes of red pepper flakes—an interesting accompaniment. Problem was, after frying ¼ cup portions of the batter in oil, our fritters fractured. They tasted fine but crumbled into several pieces. Does anyone know the secret to creating firm but tender Zucchini Fritters?

Snack First-Aid: Sue Smith, champion of all things Lemont—the farmers market, Friday night concerts on the green, Strawberry Festival, and Granary restoration—brought a bowl of homemade pickles to market this week, giving each vendor a taste. (Last week, it was cherries.) Then, in Sue-Smith-style, she handed each one of us her recipe for Refrigerator Pickles. Marina and her dad made a similar batch last week. ‘Tis the season!

Sue Smith’s Refrigerator Pickles

6 cups sliced cucumbers and 1 onion, sliced

Mix together 2 cups sugar, 1cup vinegar and 1 T. salt, and pour over cucumber and onion slices. Fill jars and refrigerate for four to five days before serving.

BTW: At the Lemont Farmers Market we’re known as Garden 101. (Last summer it was Garlic 101 but I’ve expanded my offerings.) The Lemont Farmers Market runs through October, Wednesdays from 2 to 6 p.m., but I am only there during August.

A Plug: The fearless threesome went to see The Hundred-Foot Journey the other night. I loved Helen Mirren, food, and France before buying the tickets, so I’m hardly impartial, but I give the movie two thumbs up.

Some Thugs: Last week was a tough one. My ATM got skimmed. My email got scammed. I made a trip to Rock Springs, but not to the Philippines. In the words of Dino, a former F-d-L customer: “If they would only put their energies toward making rather than stealing.”

Written on Slate: When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, fault lies in yourself.” –Techumseh

Fleur-de-StewedAnts

The Fedon girls drove close to 1,800 miles this weekend to turn back the clock and celebrate an old friend.

Stu Dance and his wife Jean were dear family friends. They had four daughters. My parents had five. Two other couples in their “group” had two daughters each. But it was more than the overabundance of Double-X chromosomes that held everyone together. We had fun! Both children and adults were each other’s best friends. Our Avalon, N.J., summer vacations cemented the relationships with Cooler-by-a-Mile escapades, and Stu was often the ringleader. And yes, there were lots of weddings with such a crew!

Stu's Girlfriends

Stu’s Girlfriends

Stu taught us how to waterski, flounder fish, and sing along with his ukulele. He loved jelly-filled Kohler’s Bakery doughnuts (most of us were partial to cream-filled), Hatfield scrapple fried extra-crisp, and cocktail hour. We each signed the wall at the Avalon Avenue house as soon as we could write our names, sat on the front porch singing “Ja-Da” to Stu’s strumming, and walked to Stone Harbor for breakfast at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House.

At Penn State tailgate parties, Stu always had a joke to tell or story to share. While other kids grew up posing for snapshots when the cameraperson said, “Che-e-e-e-e-e-se,” we hammed it up to Stu’s enthusiastic, “Walla Walla Whiskey!” (I continued the same refrain into adulthood and motherhood, however socially incorrect.)

Stuart Lee Dance III was born in Istanbul, Turkey, when it was called Constantinople. His childhood years were spent in Tokyo, Japan. His younger brother and parents returned to the U.S. just before Pearl Harbor.

Stu, Jean and the girls left and returned to State College three times during his career. In retirement he and Jean cruised the Chesapeake Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway on their trawler “Last Dance” and were active community members—earlier this year Stu was named Volunteer of the Year for his work with Centre County’s Aging in Place.

For 85 years, Stu taught everyone he met how to celebrate life. This weekend, he taught us how to celebrate death. Four years before his memorial service on Saturday, he sketched out the details. He even wrote his own obituary.

For a man known to wear gaudy Stewart-plaid pants, his funeral began with Scottish bagpipe music and progressed to the Presbyterian congregation and friends singing “Amazing Grace” with the pipers.

One of his granddaughters read his favorite poem, “The House by the Side of the Road” by Sam Walter Foss, and a grandson read Stu’s favorite Psalm (23). There was a sharing of remembrances by family and friends, a prayer of Thanksgiving read by one of his daughters, other prayers and hymns recited and sung by those in attendance. The Celebration of Life ended with a grandson playing the ukulele as his grandfather had taught him, singing with his sister and cousin, “Bye Bye Blues.”

The reception was filled with old friends reconnecting, sharing Stu-Stories, singing the old ukulele tunes, and reflecting on a life well lived, down to the very last chord. Laurie Lynch

Southern Solution: My vegetable garden is booming with too many cucumbers, yellow squash and zucchini. I issued an edict to my sisters that they COULD NOT bring any of those vegetables to the house this weekend—they could only take some home. My sister Leslie shared the bounty of her Virginia Beach garden with all of us: a bag of okra.

I’ve had okra in gumbos, used as a thickener (or slime-er) depending on your attitude, but was at a loss as to how to prepare okra any other way.

“Slice them thin,” Leslie instructed. They look like pretty little green stained-glass windows with five white seeds circling the center. “Then, place them in a Ziploc bag with cornmeal and ground pepper, and shake. Sizzle a good amount of olive oil in a pan, drop in the discs of okra, and fry. Drain on water towels, and serve.” Mmm, mmm good!

Written On Slate: “There’s something about the ukulele that just makes you smile. It makes you let your guard down. It brings out the child in all of us.” –Jake Shimabukuro

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fleur-de-Dream

July BloomsI had a dream the other night.

There was a beauty pageant—three young things and me. There were three sexy mini outfits for them–and one big cover-everything muumuu for moi.

On and on it went. You can’t expect me to remember all of the details at my age. I do know that we were all supposed to come to the pageant sans makeup, which was easy, since I do it every day. The makeup artists wanted a clean slate.

Long story short, it was discovered that one young contestant was pregnant (they threw her out) and the two others got into a catfight and were disqualified. I was the last woman standing and won, even before I walked onto the stage.

Which brings me back to the dentist.

I had a return visit. I had taken a copy of my blog entry on the Linden Loop and the blue-eyed foal that kissed me to the dental hygienist. Remember, it was the photo of her mare and filly that I recognized in the exam room. She asked about the blog and told me her daughter was a blog writer—that she was given topics and had to write 300 words on a given topic, and those 300 words were fed to someone else’s blog…

Then it was time for me to see the dentist. The two of us graduated from high school together, heck, we may have even gone to grade school together. Ginger and I share a passion for horses and gardening. Her horses eat her strawberries; the rabbits eat mine. She’s soon to become a grandmother and will spend Christmas in England with the newborn; I will spend Christmas here with the just-born visiting from Belgium. And, we’re both 60.

“We’ve reached the age of invisibility. I find it liberating,” Ginger the Dentist said.  I could only nod in agreement.

Referred to as changing of the generational guard by some, others put a negative spin on it and complain about being ignored or treated as if they are irrelevant. Some seek fashion props—purple fedoras, mock leopard shoes, or clear plastic canes filled with pink roses—and call it elder style.

Long before I reached 60 I decided the only need I had for clothes or shoes was comfort. And if I’ve been belittled because of a cluster of gray or a paunch that’s way beyond “muffin top,” I haven’t noticed—which probably says a lot about my diminishing eyesight. I can’t claim to have accumulated wisdom or figured out the meaning of life, but I do know how to appreciate it and wrap myself in the invisibility cloak of gratitude. Laurie Lynch

Earbud Traveller: This year books have taken me to Russia, Spain, France, Belgium, England, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Turkey, and some of Manhattan’s finest restaurants. Now I have a new travel tool. I heard about something called “Sound Transit” on NPR the other day and found it on turbulence.org. I haven’t had a lot of time to check it out, but the concept is that you can travel around the globe through the recorded sounds of various locations. I typed in Bristol, UK, and there were two 5-minute sound clips to listen to: Alex’s Fruit and Vegetable Shop on Glouchester Road and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Local sounds to give you an earful of a place.

Earbud Traveller 2: At 10 a.m. this morning, with an earbud plugged into my left ear and the right dangling so I could answer the roof-leak hotline, I listened to and watched the live streaming of Marina’s Masters ceremony at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. There was plenty of pomp, and it looked like the school director was carrying Harry Potter’s Quidditch stick but I’m not sure of the circumstances.

Like all graduations, there was a lot of wisdom in the words. Talk of moral compasses and the value of experience, education, and friendship, and the duty to be an advocate for the less fortunate. Finally, a ginger-haired Brit talked bluntly about the dream of youth—wanting to save the world.

“The world is beyond saving.”

The old optimist in me groaned. Dramatic pause.

“Your job is to make a new world.” Amen.

Written on Slate:  “Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” –Elizabeth Gilbert

 

 

Fleur-de-Grand

I’ve been handing out pink, foil-wrapped chocolate cigars. If I could send some in this blog, I would.

Sabine & RIchard

Sabine & RIchard

Lais Mizero Lynch was born in Brussels, daughter of my son Richard and his girlfriend Sabine.

According to Rwandan culture (Sabine was born in Rwanda but is now a Belgian citizen), Sabine explained that I would be called “Mama Marina,” after my oldest child. That seems a bit confusing so I’ve been signing emails to Sabine “Mama M”. My Italian grandmother’s name was Nives but my older cousin started calling her “Nene” and it stuck. My Polish mother’s grandchildren call her “Nonna,” which is Italian. Who knows what little Lais will end up calling me…maybe Granny Skype!

Lais is a Brazilian-Portuguese name, chosen by my son. Mizero is Sabine’s selection—“hope” in Kinyarwanda. In the meantime, I’ve already come up with three terms of endearment for the Belgian babe thanks to the photos that arrived via email: “Sunshine,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Big Foot”. Laurie Lynch

Sunshine

Sunshine

 

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

Big Foot

Big Foot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S After my sister Lee Ann sent her congratulations she asked, “By the way, what is it with your family birthday sharing?”

Background: I was born on my mother’s birthday and Richard was born on my father’s birthday. And baby Lais was born on July 8, Great Aunt Lee Ann’s birthday.

Written on Slate:  “It is as grandmothers that our mothers come into the fullness of their grace. When a man’s mother holds his child in her gladden arms he is aware of the roundness of life’s cycle; of the mystic harmony of life’s ways.” –Christopher Morley

Message in a Bottle:  “My grandmother is over eighty and still doesn’t need glasses. Drinks right out of the bottle.” –Henry Youngman

Fleur-de-Mapscapes

OK, I admit it. I was a little skittish about Marina going off on a solo trip to Turkey.

Luckily, when I voiced my concern, she didn’t say, “Mom, get a life.” Instead, she said, “Mom, get a book.”

When she went to Belgium, I read everything I could on Belgium. When she went to grad school in London, guess where my armchair travels took me? I followed her adventures in Croatia and Slovenia on Google. But this trip to Turkey, well, I needed a library!

So off to Schlow Centre Region Library I went. The first book I found was Snow by Orhan Pamuk. This book won the Nobel Prize for literature but a wave of suicides, Islamic radicals, and a military coup staged during a snowstorm are not the gentle read a mother needs at a time like this.

Poppies in Salad Garden

Poppies in Salad Garden

The next book had to be my ticket to tranquility. The Turkish Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq is a series of letters written by Busbecq, a diplomat from western Flanders, about his travels to Constantinople in the 1500s, when Suleiman the Magnificent ruled the Ottoman Empire. Whoops, time warp. Constantinople, the only city that lies in both Europe and Asia, is now called Istanbul. To make this work, I needed a few props—namely, a map of present-day Turkey, so I could follow my couch-surfing, hostel-hopping daughter—and a map of the Ottoman Empire in the mid-1500s. No sweat.

Busbecq is credited with introducing the lilac to Western Europe so I was excited to read about his plant discoveries. Surprisingly it was fauna, not flora, most often mentioned in his letters from Turkey. He was disappointed that he arrived in Constantinople just after the city’s prize “camelopard” died. The “camelopard,” with a head and neck like a camel and spots like a leopard, is now known as the giraffe. On his way back to Vienna, he brought a menagerie that included something called an ichneumon. The ichneumon (now known as a mongoose) apparently buried itself in mud to surprise and kill dragons, crocodiles, and venomous snakes.

So far, my reports from Marina have been giraffe-, ichneumon-, and dragon-free. But both travelers visited Hagia Sophia (Busbecq, when it was the Church of St. Sophia—then it became a mosque and now, when Marina visited, a museum). I’m guessing she ate plenty of yogurt. Busbecq wrote about “yoghoort”, describing it as sour milk to which cold water and breadcrumbs are added, and said it helps to quench thirst. After Constantinople/Istanbul, Busbecq took a northern route while Marina sought southern beaches. They both traveled in the heat of June and July, and their paths crossed again in Cappadocia—“Nothing but me, the birds, and the rocks,” she emailed. And the spirit of a Flemish traveler. Laurie Lynch

Homescapes: My friend Chris never met a plant she didn’t like. I, on the other hand, can be terribly opinionated when it comes to what goes in my salad, on my plate, or in my mixed border. Being “homeless” for the last several years has made me appreciate borrowed landscapes all the more.

Elder Blossom Cordial

Elder Blossom Cordial

Right now, for example, I’m brewing up a batch of elder blossom cordial. I didn’t grow the elderberry bush. A few years ago, I discovered it on a bike ride and stopped to ask the owner if I might have 20 flower heads. He agreed and I returned with a stash of cordial for him. Months later, the house was sold.

The bush was hacked down last fall. This summer, it came back with a vengeance and is covered with cream-colored clusters of flowers the size of Frisbees! Talk about blossom envy. The other morning, I went for a ride and saw a tall fellow washing windows at the elderberry house.

I pulled my bike in the driveway, hopped off, and walked over. “Would you mind if I picked a dozen of your elderberry blossoms?”

“Not my house. It is my daughter’s. She’s in the hospital. Just had twins. She won’t have time to worry about a few flowers. Help yourself.”

I did.

On the same ride, I call it Houserville Loop, I took a photo of a hillside planting of Yucca filamentosa that reminds me of an explosion of fireworks—and frankly, it’s the first mass planting of yucca I’ve ever seen.

Now there are a lot of good things to say about yucca. It is a native plant. It is deer resistant. It is tough as nails. It provides a dramatic accent. If you’re trying to create a Southwestern-style landscape to go with your stucco-and-red-tiled roof abode, it provides the look of Albuquerque while withstanding the bluster of an ice storm in Altoona.

Yucca Hill

Yucca Hill

I, on the second hand, have a long-time vindictive grudge against Yucca filamentosa.  It has a rosette of sword-shaped leaves with spiny tips—one variety is actually called “Spanish bayonet”—and the name couldn’t be more apt, believe me. I first met Yucca filamentosa when I bought my first home. Situated in Mount Pleasant, SC, the house had a pool that was landscaped by a raving maniac! Right next to the pool deck was a glorious specimen of Yucca filamentosa. Its saber leaves never failed to stab me in the backside when I walked by wearing only a bathing suit. Wrong plant, wrong place.

Written on Slate: “For a well-rounded education you could try curling up with good books and bad librarians.” –Richard Needham

 

 

 

 

Fleur-de-Permachange

I never thought I’d buy another gardening book. I have a bazillion in boxes in my mother’s basement and barn, tempting squirrels and harboring stinkbugs.

Then I got an email from a fellow Lemont Farmers Market seller and Master Gardener. She was starting a reading group to discuss Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. I’m not one to join a discussion group without reading the book, so I bought a copy.

The first discussion circle was intriguing and humbling. So much I don’t know. Herb spiral, bio-swale, hugelkultur—a whole new language. I came away with a good lesson that first night: Try something. In mid-May I settled on Ianto Evan’s Polyculture. I reserved a section of my dad’s old four-square vegetable garden and went wild.

First Flush

First Flush

First I took a small handful of Green Fortune Pak Choi seeds. Then another couple pinches of Dark Orange Calendula, Pot of Gold Chard and Flamingo Chard seeds, sprinkling them about. More seeds—Minicor and Cooke’s Blend Carrots, Pink Beauty and French breakfast radishes, Broccoli Raab, and Zefa Fino Fennel—all casually strewn. The only “rule” is to sow each variety of seed separately, not mix them all in a bowl and sow them, or else the heavier seeds might fall in one area and the lighter ones in another. The idea is randomness, not rows. Now I don’t know about you, but this shook my gardening roots to the core. Yet it did make sense to combine deep-rooted vegetables with shallow-rooted ones, slow growers with fast growers, and give every plant its fair shake to grow to edible deliciousness.

Here are the lessons I learned from that 5’x10’ patch of soil:

  1. Don’t try this if you can’t identify weed seedlings from vegetable seedlings. You must know the difference between inch-high purslane, Lamb’s quarters or pigweed and tiny carrots, chard or radishes.
  2. Even if you know the difference, if it rains too much and your soil has too much clay, you will often pull up a clump of weeds that are intertwined with a darling Flamingo chard seedling, and sticking it back in the ground usually doesn’t work. It breaks your heart.
  3. You have to be on top of your game. Harvest frequently. Radishes can hide under foliage and erupt into bitter bulbs, Pak choi and broccoli raab set yellow flowers (and turn bitter) in the blink of a tired gardener’s eye.
  4. Despite the chaos, you are going to be eating a lot of fresh vegetables!
Radish Harvest

Radish Harvest

Permaculture is all about ecology, plant communities and plant diversity; mimicking, not masterminding, nature. Those lessons were repeated at the state Master Gardener Conference. There were discussions on “practicing neglect”—letting borders of grass grow long and dead wood rot; leaving areas for nesting sites and burrowing edges. Speakers talked about the role of trees in transpiration—giant oaks or sycamores with leafy canopies that pump moisture into the atmosphere. There were lectures on the failure of our man-made “grey infrastructure” of gutters, curbs, drains and sewers to handle what the green infrastructure does so well. The lessons meshed into a pattern of hope.

At the conference we learned that since 1990 Pennsylvania has been getting wetter. “Fifty-year storms” are coming every three years. These flood events are not part of climate change. Instead, they are a result of the Joni Mitchell forecast: We’ve paved paradise, and put up too many parking lots, driveways, and manicured, but impervious, lawns.

The good news is that we can become part of the solution. Laurie Lynch

  1. Install a rain barrel and use the rainwater that you capture.
  2. Reduce the size of your mowed lawn.
  3. Plant a rain garden.
  4. Plant trees, shrubs and perennials, especially natives, which provide food for pollinators and birds.
  5. Support the use of garden roofs and redesigned parking lots that incorporate infiltration planters.

Written on Slate: “Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” –Langston Hughes

Watery Delight: We’ve had 90-degree days and nothing quenches the thirst like a few leaves of fresh mint crushed below a tower of ice cubes and drowned in cold water.