When you work closely with two Europeans, you learn a lot about their perspectives on food. (Especially given that you probe them about it. Constantly.)
They embrace butter and Nutella as if it were sent straight from the heavens. Eat meals that are 3 parts vegetable to one part protein. Have a deep appreciation for the quality of the food they ingest. Needless to say, when we talk about food, I spend a lot of time nodding in agreement. Except when it comes to cinnamon. In America, we use this spice so liberally from the day we are born that we are inured to its strong spicy flavor. To us, it tastes sweet and warm while to Europeans, it’s an unwelcome kick in the taste buds unless eaten in very small amounts.
Cardamom, on the other hand, is much more palatable and so when I brought in this cake to work and informed them that it was spiced with the former and not the latter, the relief that swept the room was almost audible. They dove right in and so did I, because even though I am a card-carrying cinnamon fanatic, this crumb cake and its cardamom infusion was delicious nonetheless.
Joanne Bruno is a food writer and third year MD/PhD student. Find more of her delicious ramblings over at her blog: Eats Well With Others.