Garden of aromatic plants
Photos Credit: Salagon Museum. Text : Marie Josèphe Moncorgé. Translator: Jean-Marc Bulit
According to Platina, the so sweet smelling mint herb stimulates appetite, protects obese people from idleness and provokes good spirits. There are numerous varieties of wild and cultivated mint in the Labiatae family. Those best known for cooking are spearmint (Mentha viridis or spicata) and peppermint (Mentha piperata).
Mesopotamians already used mint. Recipes by Apicius use both dry or fresh mint. It is found in the garden of the Menagier de Paris. Mint is also found in a Provencal soup and a teutonic broth of the Liber de Coquina, but nowhere in Chiquart recipes. The Anonimo Veneziano has mint in 4 recipes and Lancelot de Casteau in 25 ! One should wonder indeed if the use of mint in English recipes doesn't run back to the Middle Ages.