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Re: [Apicius] Digest Number 862

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  • Allan Hunnicutt
    Would cinnamon have been more available to the Byzantines than the Romans? And would Byzantine recipes (are there any) be useful as a background check to fill
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2005
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      Would cinnamon have been more available to the Byzantines than the Romans? And would Byzantine recipes (are there any) be useful as a background check to fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge of Roman cookery?

      Allan

      Apicius@yahoogroups.com wrote:


      There are 2 messages in this issue.

      Topics in this digest:

      1. Re: cinnamon
      From: lilinah@...
      2. Re: cinnamon and culinary travesty
      From: squashrot@...


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      Message: 1
      Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2005 09:41:08 -0800
      From: lilinah@...
      Subject: Re: cinnamon

      First Phil wrote:
      >>>Hi, I'm afraid I use store-bought ground cinnamon. It tastes about the same
      >>>as stick cinnamon, which I assumed was real.

      Then someone answered:
      >>One of the dirty little secrets of culinarity is that most people can't tell
      >>the difference between cassia and cinnamon, or care very much even if they
      >>can. Unlike caviar, the cheap stuff works fine.

      In relief, Phil wrote:
      >Thanks for the support. I was afraid I was committing a culinary travesty.
      >Phil Zaret

      Let me say, Phil, that using what is available to you is not a
      culinary travesty, so you're safe :-)

      Second, i do not agree with the previous poster, however. I think
      most people have never tasted true/Ceylon cinnamon, so they are
      unaware of the differences. Almost everyone i know who has had the
      opportunity to taste some has been amazed at the difference.

      With a strongly flavored main ingredient, or in a blend of many other
      strongly flavored spices, Cassia/supermarket cinnamon works fine.

      But with a delicately flavored main ingredient, such as chicken or
      apples, or when cinnamon is the signature flavoring, there's a
      significant difference in taste if one uses Ceylon/true cinnamon.

      If you are absolutely unable to get any, then use what you have.
      There are no culinary enforcers coming to get you.

      But if you can get some - and many on-line merchants sell true
      cinnamon if no one near you sells any - i recommend giving it a try.
      I'd suggest getting both a little stick - so you can see the
      differences - and some of the powder, since the stick can be trying
      to powder. I've ground it in an electric coffee grinder i have
      reserved for spices only. There will be little fibers in it -
      perfectly edible - but more aesthetic if sifted out.

      Now, i do not know which kind of cinnamon the Romans used, or if they
      used both. In my limited studies of early and Medieval cooking, it
      appear that spice merchants sometimes substituted one for the other.

      Anahita



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      Message: 2
      Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2005 13:16:20 EST
      From: squashrot@...
      Subject: Re: cinnamon and culinary travesty

      Mate, you haven't committed a culinary travesty until you have pounded a
      steak full of cracked peppercorns, tossed it into the deep fryer and charged an
      unsuspecting diner forty-five dollars for it.
      Dick
      Thanks for the support. I was afraid I was committing a culinary travesty.
      Phil Zaret


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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