Ingredient Spotlight Cinnamon

22 Jan

Ingredient Spotlight: Cinnamon

       Cinnamon has become synonymous with dessert in American cuisine. Adding warmth to a pecan topped sticky bun it both blows my mind and satisfies my sweet tooth. But what do we really know about cinnamon? Yes it is most likely the first thing that people reach for when preparing a luscious dessert; but many cultures around the world turn to the luxurious cinnamon to satisfy the most savory of cravings.

       Complex moles in Mexico take the inner warmth of cinnamon to transform pieces of tough meat into succulent fall off the bone delights. The Vietnamese use the slow releasing qualities of the cinnamon stick to impart the rich beef broth based noodle soup  Pho with a light touch of woodsy allure. Either powdered or whole, cinnamon is one of my favorite spices; it soothes the body and soul to the core.

       However, for my first ingredient spotlight we will not be taking part in creating a complex culinary delight. I will be revisiting the land of my childhood when all I wanted was a good night’s sleep. The inspiration for this post comes from a very tired young girl who hasn’t gotten a full nights rest in quite some time. A twelve year old who can’t seem to get the sand man to come for a sleep over and I was getting worried about her.

       I could barely function on the allotted eight hours of sleep and she was functioning on only four a night. When one evening it hit me, a distant memory that had begun to gather cob webs in my mind had begun to resurface. My grandmother would always give me a warm cup of whole milk and a touch of sugar to soothe the troubled mind. I soon suggested this to my young sister but with one added ingredient, cinnamon.

       I could recall always feeling so relaxed after dining on anything that contained cinnamon. The smell alone triggered visions of warm blankets and soft pillows. This had to help her sleep; at least it couldn’t hurt to try. We warmed up a pot of milk on low heat and added one large cinnamon stick. We then let the milk and the cinnamon infuse until it was just warm enough in temperature. The smell brought a smile of pure happiness to my face. I took my first sip and I knew I was on to something. It was like taking a warm soak after a hard day’s work making all the stress of the day melt away. Only the morning would tell though whether my child hood remedy had succeeded.

       “I slept like a baby”, she says the second she wakes up the next morning. All I can say is that so did I. I felt the tension melt away with every sip giving me the freedom to sleep and dream the night away.  Culinary aficionados these days are so preoccupied with blending complex flavors that they forget how wonderful a singular ingredient can be. So when the sandman stands you up, swirl some cinnamon into warm milk and drift away to dream land.  (P.S Give the sandman a good smack when you see him 😉 —–CMY

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Cinnamon (Property of Salt Pepper Brilliant CMY)

        

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10 Responses to “Ingredient Spotlight Cinnamon”

  1. Sleep, Eat, Gym, Repeat. January 24, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Love cinnamon! It tastes surprisingly good mixed with some garlic powder if you’re looking for a new spice combination 🙂

  2. Christina January 24, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    Oh I will definitely have to try it! Always looking for more new and exciting tastes 🙂

  3. thekevinchen January 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    Cinnamon makes me cry… tears of joy 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by..your blog is off to a great start, good luck with everything!

    • Christina January 29, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

      Haha great comment and thanks so much!

  4. Foodiella January 30, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    WOW! i make asian tea – “teh Tarik” and i like to add cinnamon sticks and brew my tea. Try it!

    • Christina January 30, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

      I will tonight I like to have some warm tea a couple of hours before I go to bed. Thanks for the suggestion and for stopping by 🙂

  5. Jessica January 31, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

    It’s great with coffee too! Add a little to your coffee grounds in a drip machine and it helps with the bitterness of the cheap coffee. 🙂 Course, it would be nice to just buy fancier coffee but it’s a frugal option when you can’t afford to. You can also combine a little nutmeg with the cinnamon, and my hubs like to add vanilla extract but I don’t notice the vanilla flavor at all.

    • Christina January 31, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

      Really? I will definitely try this tomorrow morning…thanks!

  6. IsobelandCat February 6, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    Interesting. Is cinnamon known for helping people sleep, or is it a personal thing?

    • Christina @ Salt Pepper Brilliant February 6, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

      It is known for being a relaxant which helps with falling asleep. It works for me but like everything it won’t always work for everyone. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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