"Here," the husband said, handing me a grimy packet of chewing gum, cinnamon-flavored, my favorite.
Where did that come from, I asked.
It turns out he'd brought it back from New York when he was there in April and he'd unearthed it from a bag somewhere where he'd forgotten it.
The strange thing in Sweden is that there is no cinnamon-flavored candy of any sort. They much prefer licorice that has been laced with ammonia-y salt.
And now, as I start thinking about fixing a curry for tonight's dinner party - a mix of caraway seed, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cardemom, fresh ginger, garlic and onion, turmeric, saffron and ground cashews - I'm wondering what makes a culture choose to love a certain spice above others? Why wasn't I raised to have a sweet tooth for caraway- or saffron- or ginger-flavored chewing gum?
Interestingly, chewing gum doesn't go stale, sitting in a bag somewhere for five or six months.
The Swedish word for the day is, of course, kanel. It means cinnamon.
- by Francis S.