Cinnamon in New Places
Marty Martindale

We are used to finding cinnamon, on sweet buns, in apple pie, on cinnamon toast and cookie flavoring. As interest in Mediterranean foods continues to increase, especially in the Eastern Med lately, we find cinnamon appearing in dishes new to us like soups, salads, condiments, with fruits other than apples and raisins, eggs, meats, beans, stews, quinoa/rice, drinks and vegetables. Just about every cuisine uses some cinnamon. Sometimes it is the dominant spice, also much of the time it will appear with some of its old buddies, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. There’s even a company marketing a cinnamon salt!

Probably, the most popular cinnamon in North America is the Vietnamese “Saigon,” cinnamon from the cassia tree. There are many varieties of cinnamon. Europeans favor Ceylon Cinnamon. It was lighter with a fruity touch. Frequently referred to as Mexican cinnamon or canella, they like to use it in their moles, hot chocolate, tea, Cafe de Olla and horchata. Early cinnamon, not unlike its flavorful bretheren, became known for medical benefits and had its share of early hoarding by powerful, rich rulers in high places. Early food was boring, and spice was a God send!

We have accustomed ourselves to cinnamon in some familiar dishes, but somehow we didn’t realize the snappy tang was cinnamon. “Cincinnati Style” chili, featured for years by Skyline Chili and several other chili companies, distinguished themselves from many other chilis by containing cinnamon, cloves and cocoa powder. Old Bay Seasoning, a popular flavoring for fish and seafood brings all its spice friends to the mix:  cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, mace and ginger to enhance savory seafood occasions. For years the famed Greek dishes, Moussaka and Pastitsia, contained cinnamon flavoring. There are countless companies which custom-blend spice mixtures for companies, and often cinnamon is included. Some established spice blends with cinnamon are: Ras al Hanout, Chinese Five Spice Power, Curry Powder, Garam Marsala and basic pickling spice.

Some savory cinnamon recipes:

Thai Cinnamon Soup with Egg combines eggs, tofu and other ingredients with cinnamon.

This is an interesting Mexican-Spiced Fish recipe.

A Savory Cinnamon Rice made from brown rice, veggies, thyme, cinnamon and other spices.

This is a long list of savory dishes with cinnamon from

Marty Martindale

About Marty Martindale

Foodsite Magazine and Marty aim to help the cooking-challenged avoid dependence on others due to lack of cooking knowhow. We concentrate on quick breakfasts, portable lunches and “good-4-u” night meals. With readily available web translation, the magazine explains separate foods, a little of their history, their nutrition, suggested “go-withs,” serving ideas and links to foodsites with recipes.

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