14.11.07

dessert discussions

I have had two interesting conversations with Jaya recently that highlight the differences of our cultures. Jaya loves my cakes. She is not a sweets person, but anytime I take them cake, she admits sheepishly that she ate it all. She'll always ask me how I make them, and after I explain how easy it is to make cakes, she'll look at me doubtfully and remark, "I think it just comes naturally to Americans." She said it to me, not for the first time, just this week. I thought about it, and realized one of the first things we are taught to cook are cookies and brownies and sweets. She doesn't understand when I tell her it takes me a long time to make even simple chapatis (their flat bread), and I guess it's the equivalent with our baking. I don't understand how anyone could be confused about baking.

But as much as she loves cake, she doesn't like everything I bake. I love the fall and apple season, so last week, I made an apple crisp. Jaya came over, and I offered her some, thinking she would love it. But she just moved it around with her spoon until I finally coaxed it out of her why she wasn't eating it. Apparently, she doesn't like cinnamon. I don't just mean the taste, I mean the smell too! Honestly, is there anything more American than eating some kind of dessert laced with cinnamon while burning an apple cinnamon candle? I thought back and realized Priya would eat anything I made except my apple pie. So although I hate to generalize, Jaya is probably not the only South Asian who does not conjur up homey, cozy memories at the smell of cinnamon.

Anyone else have this experience overseas? It's pretty ethnocentric of me, but I honestly am blown away that the entire world does not love cinnamon.


9 comments:

Deanna said...

Germans don't love spicy food. I know it's culturally inappropriate of me, but I don't see how anyone wouldn't want to put hot sauce on their eggs, pizza, soup, chicken, etc. And they eat bread with everything. EVERYTHING! Their word for dinner translates literally, "evening bread". While I like bread as much as the next person, one or two pieces of toast a day for me is plenty. And I love apple cinnamon stuff too!

Angie said...

I've been told by several people here that cinnamon is considered a meat spice. That's why you can buy it here, but you'll never see it in any of their sweets. To those I've talked to, cinnamon just doesn't go in sweet dishes.

Tales of a Girl said...

I bet she would like it if you sprinkled a little masala in it instead of cinnamon :) Everything's good with masala or cardamom.....right?!

Christine said...

I couldn't find anything cinnamon in France either - not even cinnamon gum - la bouef!!

five_solas said...

Cinnamon grows in Zanzibar... it's from a tree! Crazy! Can you imagine how good that tree smells? I always wanted to go on the "Spice Tour" of Zanzibar, but Brad never did. Oh well. I miss TZ! Love you, Alison

SouthAsiaRocks said...

We had a friend in M-town that put cinnamon with her Haldi every time she cooked with it... some dishes tasted really weird.

julie said...

i never could understand how indian women can make a perfectly round chapati and think it was so hard to bake a cake.

Kelley said...

now that i think about it, one of our fave dishes from our helper was a cinnamon chicken!

E-Rob said...

Haha! All that meat-cinnamon talk makes me laugh at how I must come across. Can you imagine us getting all excited over Yankee's new Poultry Seasoning Candle?