Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Cinnamon Or Garlic: Is There Really a Difference?

One ingredient can make a world of difference.

The other morning I got up early and thought I would be a good husband/father and make breakfast for everyone. My wife came across a recipe several years ago for something we call "oatmeal bake." It ends up as a dish of oatmeal in a cake-like form--thick, but not too sweet. We usually top it with banana or applesauce or maybe even chocolate chips. The kids really like it, it's reasonably healthy, and it's easy enough that I can make it. Usually.

It was early--between 5:30 and 6:00--so I turned on the light and gathered the ingredients. Everything gets mixed together in one large bowl before it gets put into the cake pan. My wife constantly tinkers with recipes, and discovered that the oatmeal bake was a little bit better with a dash of vanilla and a sprinkling of cinnamon. I had every other ingredient already in the bowl when I reached for the cinnamon and generously sprinkled it over everything.

Except, it didn't look quite right. The cinnamon wasn't as dark as it usually is. That's when I discovered my mistake. Garlic is not cinnamon!

Which one is cinnamon and which one is garlic? (It's difficult to tell when you're still half asleep.)

This is the problem you get when you buy all of your seasonings at Costco.

By the time I realized what I had done, it was too late to do anything. I couldn't undo it. I couldn't gather all of the garlic up and put it back in the container. The garlic was there. I grabbed the cinnamon--making sure it was actually cinnamon--and sprinkled twice as much of it as I normally would, in the hopes that extra cinnamon would somehow overpower the taste of the garlic. I poured it into the cake pan and put it in the oven to bake.

This is what it's supposed to look like when it's finished.
(It really is very good. We have it three or four times a month.)

Have you ever had spaghetti-flavored oatmeal? Of course not! There is a reason bakeries don't offer Italian oatmeal cake. Cinnamon and garlic are not interchangeable, and no amount of cinnamon will completely hide the presence of garlic. I took a bite, and that was enough. I didn't serve any to the wife or the kids, sparing them from experiencing that particularly unpleasant combination of flavors. I served them toast and butter instead. (Regular butter, not garlic butter.)

Here's the recipe.
(I added a helpful little tip at the bottom.)

I learned a few things that morning. 1) Make sure you know your ingredients. 2) Make sure you use the correct ingredients. C) Not all powders are alike. D) Garlic is not a good breakfast garnish. And E) Never try to cook before 6:00 AM.

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