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NYC's Maple Syrup Scent Mystery Solved

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Our amazing editorial assistant Alessandra Bulow shares a few thoughts on fenugreek:

"When New York’s mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed yesterday that the aromatic herb fenugreek is the source of a mysterious maple syrup-like odor that has pervaded the city’s streets periodically since October 2005, I immediately asked “What’s that and can I put it on my French toast?”

Although commercially-processed fenugreek seeds yield a sweet extract that can be used to make artificial maple syrup, in a home kitchen, the hard golden seeds have a slightly spicy aroma and a bitter flavor and are often used in Indian-inflected recipes.

So while I won’t be sprinkling fenugreek over my brunch tomorrow afternoon (I’ll be having crisp Blueberry Corn Cakes with Maple Syrup), I'm feeling inspired to incorporate it in a hearty Sunday supper. Now my only remaining question is which recipe should I make: Beef Stew or Spicy Chicken Curry?"

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