Cinnamon curry roasted chicken, complemented by a tomato-yogurt sauce
Photo: Ann Stratton
Quick, name a substance that will help attract the man of your dreams, lower your blood sugar, and sell your home all at the same time. If you answered cinnamon—then, my friend, the world is your sticky bun.

Here's what we know: Men (bless their malleable little hearts) do not require stiletto heels and a Barry White CD to draw them in. If it's lust you're looking for, consider investing in a box of Red Hots. Studies indicate that the male species is far more drawn to the scent of cinnamon than the scent of a woman. As for blood sugar, a 2003 report concludes that just half a teaspoon of cinnamon daily reduces blood sugar by about 20 percent. Finally, anyone who's ever sold their house will tell you that the aroma of a cinnamon-laced apple pie baking in the oven all but screams "Buy this place and your wildly screwed-up family will become one big Norman Rockwell painting. Grandma will stop shoplifting, little Timmy will quit wearing mascara, and you'll all smile happily, sitting together at the dinner table, eating a roast"…(that for some reason Grandma happened to have in her purse).

But cinnamon isn't just about sex, drugs, and real estate anymore. It's that exotic dash of warmth in the most tender of lamb tagines, the galvanizing ingredient in garam masalas, the sweet, earthy note in the best curries. It's the fragrant touch that mulls cider, garnishes rice pudding, and adds depth to even the flattest pumpkin soup. It seasons, it soothes, it bites back just a little bit, it stirs your tea (or Mexican hot chocolate) and welcomes you home.