Friday // Fri-yay. Cinnonnyms!
Cinnamon is usually accompanied by sweetness. "Cinnamon, spice, and everything nice," right? But by itself, cinnamon is quite bitter and astringent.
Emperor Nero felt bitter remorse in 65 BC when he tried to atone of the death of his second wife Poppaea Sabina, whom he had killed. Nero had either kicked her in the stomach (she told him he was spending too much time at the races), or he had poisoned her—their quarrel and her death are still an unsolved mystery. But we do know that he burned as much precious cinnamon as he could to atone for it. Some say a whole year's worth was burned in her funerary rites.
Cinnamon also symbolizes healing, love, and the sacred. In the Book of Exodus, it lists myrrh, cinnamon, cassia and olive oil to make a holy anointing oil. The book says "With it you shall anoint the tent of meeting and the ark of the testimony." In this oil,Cinnamon was symbolic of the fragrance of the world. Through this anointing, the world would obtain freedom from bondage.
Since Passover is around the corner, cinnamon feels apropos. It's featured in both sephardic and ashkenazi charoset recipes. The cinnamon scroll was once known as a staff or an aromatic cane, representing passage and knowledge.
What's your favorite recipe with cinnamon?
This cinnamon photo was taken at a market in Jerusalem in 2012. It felt like the right time to pull it from our archives.