Cinnamon

Appears in

Mighty Spice Cookbook

Mighty Spice Cookbook

By John Gregory-Smith

Published 2012

  • About
This is an wonderful spice. It smells like Christmas and lends itself perfectly to both sweet and savoury dishes, so it should come as no surprise that cinnamon has been in demand for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians used the spice, which, at the time, was more expensive than gold, as an embalming agent, scent, cooking ingredient and medicine. It was prized throughout antiquity, and the cinnamon trade was strictly controlled by Arab traders. Herodotus noted that cinnamon came from Arabia, where it was collected by giant birds from a strange island where the cinnamon trees grew, to build their nests. In order to get the cinnamon down from the trees, the Arab traders would offer cattle to the birds for them to eat. The huge birds would sweep down, collect the cattle and return to their nests. The extra weight would cause the cinnamon to fall down, so the brave traders could collect the precious quills.