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.