tatamagouche was slightly horrified and slightly intrigued to encounter a huge bowl of spaghetti with meat sauce … and also a bunch of cinnamon sticks in it! “I know a lot about Italian and Italian-American cuisine, but this came as a total shocker,” says tatamagouche.

“My mother used to make a Greek tomato-based pasta sauce with cinnamon sticks in it, as well as a whole onion studded with cloves,” says lawhound05. “I’m not remembering the name of it right now (we just called it ‘Greek spaghetti’) but it really was delicious.” ziggylu says, “In our Greek family my mother always threw a cinnamon stick in the pot when she was making meat sauce for spaghetti. I never knew this wasn’t typical until I was an adult as it was all I knew growing up.”

“I think it comes from North Africa via Sicily,” says escondido123. “It also is like the picadillo from Latin America. Really interesting flavor, not sweet (unless you add the raisins) but very different. Also used in Indian cooking so you get this very ‘worldly’ vibe of cultures crossing. I love it for a change.”

Cincinnati chili, says alanbarnes, is made with “cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cumin, and—the secret ingredient—a bit of unsweetened chocolate.”

Discuss: Spaghetti with meat sauce…and cinnamon sticks

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