For some reason, biological or emotional, cinnamon became my spice. From the early days of Mom’s spice cake at my birthday every year to the loaves of toasted Wonder Bread I consumed after practice in high school, cinnamon has ruled. Not that I hold other spices in contempt. Like James Beard, I’m a big fan of Tarragon – though I don’t know that I could become a cannibal with it, as Beard said he would with enough. I love ground pepper on salads and pasta; chili powder on meat; salt on most everything. But cinnamon is something I crave on a regular basis.
While I’m no fanatic – others may disagree – my sister one time made an apple pie that was black with cinnamon. Upon the first taste, I was compelled – by tradition – to say: “almost enough…”
These days, I’m trying different butter substitutes to help with my battle against plus 300 cholesterol and sugar substitutes with an eye to stave off what might be a genetic disposition toward diabetes. And I no longer eat much Wonder Bread, as a child of the seventies who was beaten into submission that only brown bread that tastes like wet hay from the family ranch in Montana is good for you.
Right now, with this first posting, however, let’s focus on the photo that is the header for the site. Each element has a story.
First, the one constant is the cinnamon. I usually purchase the restaurant size powdered version of the bark from Costco. Running out of cinnamon is a real bad thing. The dispenser, as always, is a spice dispenser of another kind of spice, drafted into service with the two requirements that it have a clear body to monitor the available cinnamon and sugar and the opening be a grid of holes wide enough to shake any lumps of sugar back into powder. You load this with 2/3 sugar and 1/3 cinnamon to fill approximately 90% of the jar, leaving room for shaking to combine the two pals.
Oldest of my cinnamon entourage is my toaster. The one in the photo – still working – I purchased from the Salvation Army in Tucson for $5 as a Sophomore in college at the
University of Arizona in 1978. Makes it 33 years old when I got it. Made by the Proctor Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania model 1785A Series 9808. It’s stamped with “Family Model” on the underside. I don’t think they make appliances to last like this much anymore. I could swear this one is self healing. For a while, it stopped toasting on both sides of the “First Slice Goes Here” slot and then miraculously one day it just restarted.
Of a more modern origin is the bread. This is the first successful loaf I’ve been able to put through our new bread maker given to us by our friend Monica. I’ve been through two bags of flour and finally hit on a winning formula. And this one even uses the orange pulp from our Jack Lalanne Juicer from my brother Craig and his wife Kimmer. Here’s the recipe:
2 cups self rising flour (with baking powder)
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons room temperature water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of regular sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 and one half teaspoon Bread Machine Yeast at room temperature
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup orange pulp
Mix all the dry ingredients together well with a whisk.
Knead in the orange pulp so it’s broken up
Pour into bread machine
Add the water and tab of butter.
Set for medium crust on a 2lb loaf.
As for the sugar and butter on the toast, there just isn’t a substitute for regular cane sugar and dairy butter. Now, I’m no sweet tooth. I get the cinnamon rolls frozen at the Fair every summer specifically without the frosting. When I visit Cinnabon – those pushers – I always wait for a batch without the frosting. Interferes too much with the cinnamon.
So, that’s your introduction to Cinnamontoast.com. It’s likely my next article will be on the difficulty of building web sites as users wish to use them instead of how graphic artists and advertisers want them built…or maybe I’ll talk about why one of the world’s foremost pianists thinks that classical music makes you smarter. Not sure. Stay tuned.