True cinnamon comes from a shrub originally grown in Sri Lanka. Most of the cinnamon that you buy at the grocers is actually cassia. Cassia comes from the bark of a laurel tree that is closely related to the true cinnamon shrub. Cassia has a heavier, bitter flavor. It is also used in Chinese Five-Spice powder. You normally have to go to a specialty store for real cinnamon.

Cinnamon (thing)

Cinnamon is a strong spice with a warm taste. It is quite tasty in small quantities, but almost impossible to stomach in larger doses.

Cinnamon has long been a popular spice. It was even mentioned in the Old Testament, although it did not come into common use in Western Europe until the 1700s. It comes from the bark of the Cinnamomum Zeylanicum which is a tree native to Sri Lanka. This cinnamon is usually called Ceylon Cinnamon as Ceylon is the old name for Sri Lanka. There are a few other species of cinnamon as well, such as Indonesian cinnamon (Cinnamomum burmannii), Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia), Vietnamese cinnamon (Cinnamomum loureirii), and Indian bay leaf (Cinnamomum tamala). The Ceylon variety is considered to be the real cinnamon, but all of these are often sold as cinnamon, with Cassia being the most common.

Cinnamon is used heavily in food preparation in both Sri Lanka and India. It is especially popular in beef curry and for use in flavoring tea. This spice had its height of popularity in the west somewhere around the 17th century. Today in the Western world it is really only used in desserts, which are often fruit based.

Most countries tend to use cinnamon in powdered form, and they apply it right before serving the dish. This is done because cinnamon can become bitter quickly if cooked for too long. But in India they prefer to use their cinnamon whole, where it is often fried in hot oil and combined with vegetables or yogurt.

The cinnamon plant also bears a fruit as well. This fruit must be harvested before it ripens and must be ground up until it is little more than a powder. This cinnamon fruit is really only used in China and in the Kutch region of India.

Cinnamon (person)

Cinnamon is a video game character. She is one of the drivers you can use in the Sega game Crazy Taxi 2

Cinnamon is an example of the fact that every video game with selectable characters has a cute young girl among the options. She fits that stereotype nicely. Pretty and naive, her main function in the game seems to be saying cute things. She is a light skinned black girl with her hair dyed blonde, and she drives what looks like a Mercury from the early 1960's. The game lists her blood type because this title originated in Japan, where blood type is used as an indicator of what "type" of person someone is. Much like horoscopes are used in China and in the western world.

Cassia is more widely used because it is slightly easier to harvest than true cinnamon and therefore is cheaper to produce. Both cinnamon and cassia barks are stripped from trees and dried, except that cinnamon undergoes and extra refining step of having the outer bark rotted off, leaving the delicate inner bark behind. Both the inner and outer bark are left on cassia quills, and as a result it is a coarser product. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission says that both can be sold as cinnamon.

“Her eyes were pearls, which gave her great beauty, but meant she was blind.”

Cinnamon is a story for young readers written by legendary wordsmith Neil Gaiman (text copyright 1995 and 2017) and beautifully illustrated by the deeply stylistic Divya Srinivasan (one might recognize her name from various album artwork, her own picture books, or the film Waking life). It is an inventive tale and a bold premise from which to leap from.

There is a beautiful princess with pearls for eyes, who does not speak.

Her parents offer rich rewards for anyone who teaches their daughter how to speak; all the courting tutors leave the palace cloaked only in the stench of their failure. Until one day a tiger comes to the palace.

“And the tiger opened his mouth and grinned like a hungry god, which is how tigers grin.”

Clocking at forty pages, Cinnamon is a well-paced and rewarding read. While the artwork and eloquent grammar will engage an age range from toddlers to young children, the deeper levels of metaphor laced within the pages will tickle at the adult-reader’s mind long after the back flap is closed.

Neil Gamain’s website for young readers

Divya Srinivasan’s website


Cin"na*mon (?), n. [Heb. qinnamon; cf. Gr. , , cinnamomum, cinnamon. The Heb. word itself seems to have been borrowed from some other language; cf. Malay kaju manis sweet wood.] (a)

The inner bark of the shoots of Cinnamomum Zeylanicum, a tree growing in Ceylon. It is aromatic, of a moderately pungent taste, and is one of the best cordial, carminative, and restorative spices.



Cinnamon stone Min., a variety of garnet, of a cinnamon or hyacinth red color, sometimes used in jewelry. -- Oil of cinnamon, a colorless aromatic oil obtained from cinnamon and cassia, and consisting essentially of cinnamic aldehyde, C6H5.C2H2.CHO. -- Wild cinnamon. See Canella.


© Webster 1913.

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