Saturday, October 13, 2012

And a Dash of Cinnamon

I use cinnamon on nearly everything. Okay, perhaps that is exaggerating. Still, I enjoy adding a sprinkle to my oatmeal, espresso, and smoothies. It is a key ingredient in Magic Potion Juice Bar’s seasonal special: Pumpkin Pie Smoothie. And it has an interesting history.

Cinnamon is in the same plant family as Bay Leaf and Sassafrass (which is a really cool plant that grows all over the place around here. Look for a tree with three different leaf types. Rip a leaf open and take a whiff – smells like Fruit Loops, right? But I digress). What is sold as cinnamon in the United States today may be one of two species: true cinnamon, which has thinner bark, and cassia, which has thicker bark. Both can be, and are, labeled “cinnamon.” Most cinnamon is produced in Southeast Asia.

Mmmm...warm apple cider

From Southeast Asia, it was carried by traders to Egypt and later to Europe. Before it became popular in cooking, cinnamon was used in embalming (by the Egyptians) and religious ceremonies. Venice controlled the cinnamon trade in the 1400s and 1500s and profited greatly from it. After Venice, Portugal gained control. Desire for cinnamon was so strong, and the profits from controlling the trade so great, that a fight between nations broke out and Holland seized control from Portugal! Though perhaps we don’t see as much conflict in today’s trade, I’d say that desire is still strong! At least mine is!

Pumpkin pie smoothie with pecans and maple syrup

Come in and try a seasonal smoothie or some hot apple cider. Or ask for a dash of cinnamon to spice up any of our standard smoothies! Delish.

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