Friday, February 23, 2007

Secret plans and clever tricks

I've been conducting experiments. Mostly of the linguistic variety but occasionally other varieties as well.

When I moved to France and was shocked and dismayed to discover the nearly national (the east of France being excluded) dislike of cinnamon, I couldn't help but wonder, was it nature or nurture? If Generation A doesn't like it, having never been exposed to it, they probably aren't going to introduce it to their offspring, Generation B. And so on.

I don't know any French people who like cinnamon. None. I'm sure there are a few out there, but they're rare. At least in my neck of the bois. You will be hard pressed to find any baked goods here with cinnamon in them, including ginger bread. Not that I'm complaining about the baked goods. They're excellent.

But I do like cinnamon. I like it in my gingerbread. I like it on in my apple tart. I like it in my carrot cake. I like it in my coffee cake. I like it in my fruit crisps.

Sometimes I make things with cinnamon when we have people over. They almost never like it. These are open-minded people. Could it be genetic? Have the French been short-changed at the cinnamon-liking-gene market?

My children, being half-French and raised in this cinnamon-disliking nation, have been excellent participants in my evil culinary plotting.

They love cinnamon.

You can all take a deep breath now, the suspense is over. It's been proven, it's nurture, not nature, that determines one's propensity to like cinnamon.

Peanut butter too.


beth said...

That is odd - is it because it has a strong flavor? I just read that some health professionals suggest that you add cinnamon to your diet because it helps supress your appitite. I love cinnamon - glad to hear that you still have your American ways in France! Try buttering a piece of toast, then sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon and sugar on the buttered toast (my favorite childhood snack) Also, let me know if you would like my recipe for pumpkin spice bread - it calls for lots of cinnamon!

Margie said...

I love cinnamon and so do my kids, I think you're on to something here because my (french) husband wasn't too interested in it. He now likes cinnamon a little, thanks to me. It's true you don't see it very much, but being in the north east region, I do see it in stores and some local recipes. Didn't realize it was a local thing.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've really enjoyed starting it up. Another Chicagoan! Isn't it crazy how little snow there is here? Chicago isn't so lucky this year though with all they've had. Little too much for me.
I've enjoyed reading your blog..
Take care,

Doc said...

we do cinnemon here, too.
and peanut butter.
and grits!

mmmm grits

Nicole said...

Beth - I'd love the pumpkin recipe, I was just thinking about making some pumpkin bread this week.

Margie - I've had no such luck with my husband.

Doc - I miss grits. I miss breakfast at Saltworks.

beth said...

Pumpkin Bread:
1/2 c butter
1 pkg cream cheese
2 1/2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 can (approx 16 oz) pumpkin
3 1/2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cround cloves
3 tsp cinnamaon (for those don't like cinnamon - use 1 tsp)
1 c pecan pieces are optional (I never use them)
Preheat oven to 350
Beat butter, cream cheese and sugar until blended well; add eggs one at a time mixing after each one; blend in pumpkin; add combined dry ingredients mixing until moistened.(if using pecans - stir them in now)
makes great bread loafs or muffins
bake 1 hour
GLAZE (optional)
1 1/2 c powered sugar and 2 tbsp milk - mix and spread over warm pumpkin bread

Doc said...

oh bad, bad, BAD! you had to go and mention the saltworks...

damn, now i've got a cravin hung on me.

Did you ever make it to MIO?

Amy H said...

I haven't tried the cinnamon thing out, over here in the Loire, but will have to try it out the next time I'm tapped to bring dessert to my father-in-law's. (Then maybe I won't be asked again.) However, the aunts- and cousins-in-laws did like my carrot cake...

Lorraine said...

I did not know that about the French. I find it very unsettling and I applaud and commend you for informing the next generation so that this travesty can some day be corrected.

Seriously? They don't like cinnamon? (walks back over to the coffee pot just shaking and shaking her little head)

OH! And I'm so sorry I missed your call the other day!

Nicole said...

Beth - Thank you. I'll try it this week.

Doc - I don't remember the name, but I do remember a few other places (locations without names now in my wacky memory)where breakfast was really really good.

Amy H - I've had some luck with carrot cake too. Although I suspect it was more a novelty thing.

Lorraine - I know! I've been living here for 9 years and I'm still shaking my head. I just don't get it.

Eric said...

Strange seeing as one if the main suppliers of Cinnemon is Viet Nam a former Colony.

Nicole said...

Eric - Is it really? I guess their dislike of cinnamon was too well-established by then to be changed.