After a dinner characterized by the use of fresh basil and plenty of wine with friends last night, we moved on to dessert. We had my blueberry-peach cobbler that is topped with finely chopped pecans, oats, brown sugar, honey, spices and a bit of butter. Of course served a-la-mode. As we were eating this (delicious) dessert, the Italian in our midst makes a comment about the American use of cinnamon. His thought was that it was overused and in nearly everything. When I said â€˜spicesâ€™ earlier, I meant ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and plenty of cinnamon. That got me thinking.
I love cinnamon. It goes in my pancakes, banana bread, carrot cakeâ€¦most of my baking, some of my marinades. Sometimes it lands itself in my tea or on my toast. But the flavors blend so wellâ€”each complementing the next to be aromatically and sensually pleasing. Yet I was left with this question: Do I overuse this favorite spice thus neglecting others?
I would like to think that I use this spice appropriately so that it helps to build the flavor of the dishes I cook or bake while not overpowering and pushing out the other flavors. There is a long list of dishes that it has not worked itself into. Thus, I am hopeful that I have not fallen into this (apparently) American trap. However, I will certainly be watching my spice use a little more carefully in the near future to see what other patterns there that I might not have noticed so clearly.