Menthe a l'eau is French for 'mint water.' And menthe a l'eau rhymes with ‘hello’ (pronounced ment-a- low'). I'm feeling the need to say 'hello' again. Yes, I know it's been a WHILE since I’ve written.
Our little boy was born in April and he started sleeping through the night last week. Now I feel a like a real person. We were on vacation in Michigan and Montana the entire month of June. Anyway, I'm back...and I know I'm really back to a routine because this week I popped the THREE kids in the mini-van and drove to three farmers’ markets. (Actually we walked to one.) Farmers’ markets and blogging were routine last summer… expect great things. I'm optimistic! (Photo left: Menthe a l'eau and farmers' market squash)
So last night our French supper was inspired by a story I told the girls about when I was 16 and visiting a friend in France. She, her girlfriends and I would sit at French cafes and drink frosty glasses of bright green menthe a l’eau. Maybe my memory of how refreshing they were is so vivid because it was so hot in Châlons-sur-Marne that summer!
My daughter made the mint simple syrup herself (photo left). She cut the mint from our container garden and measured equal parts sugar, water and lightly packed mint leaves into a pan. We brought it to a boil then simmered for 2 minutes and then cooled. After straining out the mint leaves, we just added green food coloring and water (you could use sparkling water, but the French just use tap).
After all these years, the drinks were just as refreshing and just as bright green (photo below.) And in French style we wrote our menu on a chalkboard: Menthe a l'eau, Summer Succotash, Deviled Eggs, cheese plate, chocolate (photo above.)
While growing up on a ranch in Montana, I learned to appreciate food by watching my parents take it from the field to the plate. I helped my mother garden, preserve vegetables and milk the cow. Loving food led me to a career as a registered dietitian. And now as a mom, I enjoy teaching my children to cook and appreciate how food gets to their plate – here in a Chicago suburb. At the end of the day, it sometimes seems that all I've accomplished is to get dinner on the table. But if my kids helped, a lesson was learned and we most certainly had fun.