Cinnamon in France

One thing I find interesting in France is how little they use cinnamon in their recipes. I think Americans are much more fond of this spice that the French, at least from my personal experience. I offered to make Maurice’s son some of my famous-in my family-cinnamon toast for breakfast and he almost gagged. He can’t stand the taste. Maurice is the same way and when I am making yams, I make our two servings separately as I love not only cinnamon but sugar in mine along with butter. He only wants butter and salt and pepper. You should see his reaction to Thanksgiving yams when I also put marshmellows on top. He has an aversion to tropical fruits as well and doesn’t like pineapple, bananas, coconut or papaya. He does love grapefruit, however.
Maurice will eat my apple pie. I have to have cinnamon with apples. They just go together so well. One French guest, after having a piece, asked me if it had cinnamon in it. It must have seemed unusual tto her. The famous Tarte Tartin is a sort of upside down apple pie found all over France. I’ve never had any with cinnamon in it. I like it as there is sugar that has carmelized on the bottom of the pan and, when it is turned out onto a plate, looks really great all brownish black and gooey. It tastes great with vanilla ice cream as well, although they usually serve it with whipped cream. I did notice that Julie Child, in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, adds a little cinnamon to her recipe and I wonder if this was an American addition on her part. Just think of all of the desserts with apples in the States and I bet all of them have cinnamon in them. Then there is apple butter. I haven’t looked for it here in France but I bet I couldn’t find it.
I think it is interesting that when Americans are trying to sell a house they are told to cook something with cinnamon in it to make visitors feel at home. It has really become a part of American culture and subconsciousness. One wiff and I am a little girl again eating my mom’s cinnamon toast. I took a pumpkin pie scented candle to our neighbor as a thank-you gift. Naturally, I bought it in the States as there is no way I would have found that scent in France. Afterwards, I wondered if she would enjoy the fragrance, being French and all. I noticed that she had lit it on my next visit, so I guess it was okay.