Monday, November 18, 2013

The Weekly MUSE: Cinnamon

With Thanksgiving around the corner, pumpkin pie has been on my mind. In fact, I’ve already had a slice… or three.
So, what is it about pumpkin pie that drives people like me BONKERS? Is it the pumpkin? Is it the crust? Is it the whipped cream? The sugar? The spice?

SPICE! It’s the SPICE!
The beautiful mixture of ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon instantly transport me to a Winter Wonderland.

But I have a question. I know that ginger is a root, nutmeg is a seed, and cloves are a dried flower, but what is cinnamon? And where does it come from?
Looks like we’ve sniffed out our Weekly Muse!

Come to find out, cinnamon comes from the bark of a tree. But not any old tree!

There are two main types of cinnamon trees: the Ceylon cinnamon tree and the Cassia cinnamon tree.
Ceylon Cinnamon Tree
Photo by: Dave Cito
Ceylon (say-lon) cinnamon is considered the only TRUE cinnamon. This makes it more rare and expensive. Cassia cinnamon is the common cinnamon most people buy at the grocery store. Cassia cinnamon has a strong cinnamon taste, while Ceylon cinnamon is more mild with citrus notes.

The Ceylon cinnamon tree is native to Sri Lanka, a small island country off the southern coast of India. Sri Lanka produces about 90% of the world’s Ceylon cinnamon. Take a look at this video and watch how cinnamon is harvested.

Most Cassia cinnamon comes from Indonesia. Other types of cinnamon come from China and Vietnam.

Can you tell the difference between Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon?
Photo by: Cinnamon Vogue

Cinnamon is used in hundreds of recipes – some savory but mostly sweet.
For instance, have you ever had a cinnamon roll? What about an ooey-gooey Cinnabon? These are the most famous cinnamon rolls in the world. Take a look at this video and see why.

Cinnamon is also used to flavor many types of popular candy.
The Ferrara Candy Company has been making two of these popular candies for over 50 years.

The Atomic Fireball candies

The Atomic Fireball was first made in 1954. And boy do these little candies pack some heat! Have you ever had one?
Red Hots have been around since the 1930’s. These little cinnamon flavored candies are eaten by themselves or used in recipes. Some people put Red Hots in their applesauce.

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these what if questions will help you get started.
WHAT IF your story took place in the early 1800’s and your main character was boy or girl who traveled the countryside selling exotic Ceylon Cinnamon.

WHAT IF your main character concocted a new cinnamon roll recipe and the amazing scent of these treats attracted aliens from a faraway galaxy?
WHAT IF your story took place in the jungle, and people used cinnamon sticks as money instead of gold or paper currency.

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.
So, grab a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,
Professor Watermelon

1 comment:

  1. What if cinnamon was used for electricity?
    What if cinnamon was used in pizza?
    What if there were cinnamon people?