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European-American Topics - Editorial - Cinnamon hype: the European
America's cinnamon hype

Martina Law

The other day I had to clean out my refrigerator. Not because Iím a clean freak but rather because some of the groceries inside were about to develop a life of their own! I honestly didnít want to be responsible for Ďhairyí beasts roaming the streets that turn out to be my neglected chunks of cheese covered with fuzzy mould.   

In the very back of my icebox I found the remains of an old cinnamon roll. And thatís when it hit me. If you are on this side of the Atlantic, there is no way you can escape this spice. Whether itís sweet, crunchy, milky, chewy or fruity, I bet you will find some cinnamon in it as one of its ingredients!  

True, most people in the world are probably most familiar with cinnamon. Many Europeans use this spice for baking or cooking. I personally remember some Christmas cookies that had cinnamon as an ingredient or sprinkled on top of them. In other parts of the world, cinnamon is used with meat and poultry, such as in Indian or Moroccan dishes.  

But what makes American sellers believe that cinnamon with its woody, musty and pungent flavor is a must in almost any product you can find in the vast aisles of an American grocery shop? Honestly, just because Americans have developed a, to me, utterly unexplainable liking to what is nothing else but the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree does not mean it has to be added to every consumer good out there.  

Címon, if you like the taste of bark, fine by me, go ahead, indulge, frolic and enjoy, but cut me out of the chase. To me, chewing cinnamon flavored gum or brushing my teeth with cinnamon flavored toothpaste makes me cry out loud for water. Why not just chew on a cinnamon quill, instead? 

As much as I marvel about Americansí infatuation with this spice, almost all of my American friends wonder about Europeansí love for marzipan. ďItís nothing else but a sugary paste thatís hard to swallow,Ē one of them recently said. But to me, it makes perfect sense to like something that primarily consists of almonds and sugar. 

By the way, this almond-sugar delicacy originates from the Orient, where it was served at the sultan's table to crown the meal. It is said that marzipan found its way into Europe via the trading center of Venice during the Crusades. Honestly, I couldnít care less how it found its way into Europe; Iím simply glad it did.  

And just because Europeans like the taste of marzipan does not mean that they have to go overboard with its aroma or aromas in general. Whereas American consumers are recently being bombarded with a blizzard of different flavor variations with almost any product, Europeans still prefer to stick to the basics. Simplicity makes life easier! 

Marzipan flavored toothpaste, chewing gum, pickles, chips, or shoe polish anyone? No, thank you!


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