Just about every Italian (at least the ones in Ischia) I have ever known has told me he hates cinnamon. “Non mangio cannella,” they say as I add cinnamon to all sorts of stuff I eat. I tell them most Americans love cinnamon. Haven’t they heard of the saying, “American as apple pie?” Well, cinnamon is a main ingredient in our national dessert, people. Since I’ve been in Italy for nearly five months now I have been starting to have cinnamon withdrawal. You can get cinnamon here – in tiny little packets similar to Sweet’N Low. I started to deal with my symptoms by eating whole wheat cinnamon toast with my son for breakfast. But it wasn’t enough. I decided to pull out the big guns and make cinnamon buns. The first time I made them was a disaster. I overheated the milk and water before adding the yeast, and the dough came hard and heavy. The next time, I nuked the milk and water for 30 seconds, rather than heating it on the stove (a tip from my mamma), before adding the yeast. And what I got was cinnamon perfection (as you can see in the photo above). For those who are interested, I used the Food Network Magazine’s recent recipe for cinnamon buns.
But I digress. Pretty much all my Italian family members, especially my husband, claim that they hate cinnamon. It makes them sick. They hate the smell. It’s disgusting. Yet, my husband couldn’t get enough cinnamon buns. He ate three in one sitting. Hellooooo, cinnamon is the star of cinnamon buns. The name gives it away. How can you hate the stuff and then eat three buns? These are also the same people who ask me to make apple pie every Thanksgiving. Yes, they know of and want to celebrate Thanksgiving, where cinnamon often makes numerous appearances. All this leads me to believe that Italians don’t hate cinnamon as much as they think they do. I think it’s high time giant Costco canisters of ground cinnamon become available in Italy. Bring it on.