When I was in Australia a little over a year ago, my roommate and I made a ritual of buying banana bread en route to our bi-weekly graduate classes. Banana bread was never in short supply: they sold it in thick, tidy slices lined up at the cash register of any coffee shop, grocery store or market.
It’s not exactly macrobiotic, but it’s wholesome in that old-fashioned sort of way that is comforting, the sort of thing that might help if you were homesick and living in a distant hemisphere, away from your friends and family.
It didn’t come with chocolate chips or cream cheese icing or any funny business: just straight, old-fashioned banana bread.
I once made the mistake of asking if a store owner would consider switching up the formula, maybe adding a little cinnamon? Some cloves or cocoa powder?
She just about bit my head off and I had a revelation of sorts: cinnamon is not a universal dessert flavour.
I soon realized that contempt for cinnamon was an Australian hobby and refrained from any mention of the much-despised stick. Further extensive research demonstrated that Brits share the Australian disdain for the spice and our only comrades in Battle Cinnamon are the folks down south (Americans.) A recent Guardian UK blog post rails against the spice for being everywhere and on everything:
BLOODY SODDING CINNAMON
Citing Starbuck and other coffee shops as perpetrators and Cinnabon as the ultimate sinner, the author gives examples of recipes where cinnamon does not belong: squash puree with watermelon and cinnamon, cinnamon pineapple pork and cinnamon tinged jerk chicken.
His investigation takes him onto Google where he types in the words “America’s favourite favorite spice” – only to be met with an abundance of evil sticks.
This is one of those cultural nuances, a strange one at that. I never thought cinnamon went everywhere. It goes on cinnamon rolls, on top of fancy coffee foam and sometimes makes its way into sweet-savoury autumnal recipes and gum. That really doesn’t seem like everywhere to me. At that, you can choose (as I do) to not put cinnamon on your fancy foam-topped coffee and that’s one less place to find the scape-goated spice.
Have a look at this Guardian UK rant and let me know what your thoughts on cinnamon are. Do you think Canadians and Americans use too much of it? Would you like to see it in less coffee shops? Is it something you care a lot about?