When my brother and I were very young kids, we would cut across the fence and into Mrs. Sernowski’s farmyard. We were never actually invited, but Mrs. Sernowski was always so generous and inviting that we assumed it was OK just to pop-in. As I recall, one of the reasons that had a hard time resisting the temptation to "jump the fence" was that she always had plenty of delicious "Verhuny" - a fabulous, light, pastry dusted with icing sugar. (I've also heard it called "Chrusciki" by the Polish. Help me to get it right my Ukrainian and Polish friends!) When Mom couldn’t find us at home, she pretty much knew that we were filling our faces next door!
I also remember the huge peppermint plants that Mrs. Sernowski grew along the path to her Verhuny…err, house and the wonderful minty smell of the peppermint leaves. I can also remember how disappointed I was chewing on a peppermint leaf for the first time and discovering that while it had that beautiful mint fragrance, it didn’t taste anything like sweet, peppermint gum!
Growing mint in the garden is not difficult to do. In fact, preventing mint from spreading is often the toughest part of growing them. If you plan on growing it in your yard, ensure that you can "wall it off" from the rest of the garden. Otherwise, your yard could turn into a mint jungle. I know of one gardener who knew about the mint plants reputation for spreading aggressively and thought he could solve the problem by growing his mint in a pot. Much to his surprise, he discovered the mint roots had grown through the pot’s drainage holes and up into his lettuce patch!
Now, come to think of it, mint and Verhuny do share one common characteristic; While mint is notorious for growing roots that pop up unexpectedly, Verhuny is notorious for causing kids to pop in unexpectedly.