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Cumin (pronounced "comein") is the pale green seed of Cuminum cyminum, a small herb in the parsley family. The seed is uniformly eliptical and deeply furrowed. Cumin is frequently used in Mexican dishes such as chili con carne and hot tamales. Cumin has a distinctive, slightly bitter yet warm flavor. An ancient spice, Cumin is native to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and Egypt. Currently it is grown in many places, as it is rather easy to grow and adapts well to many climates. Cumin is one of the ancient spices, a favorite of the Romans and it is mentioned in the Old Testament. During medieval times, it was favored in Europe and Britain, but it seems to have gradually lost favor in those places. The increasing popularity of Mexican influenced foods is boosting the sale of Cumin. For a change of pace, try ground Cumin added to tangy lime or lemon based marinades for chicken, turkey, lamb, and pork. Or, add Cumin to chili, spicy meat stews, barbecue marinades, and sauces. Stir toasted Cumin into corn muffin batter to create an easy southoftheborder accent. Heat Cumin and garlic in olive oil and drizzle over cooked vegetables or potatoes. Ground Cumin is stronger than whole seeds. The Cumin flavor is accentuated by toasting.