August 30, 2007

Don't Call Me Ordinary


va·nil·la [vuh-nil-uh]: Lacking adornments or special features; basic or ordinary.

The dictionary tells me that vanilla is basic. Often you’ll hear something simple or plain described as vanilla as well. I have trouble understanding this. Why would anyone do such a disservice to the great vanilla bean? It’s not plain or boring or ordinary, it’s exotic! It comes from places like Madagascar, Mexico and Tahiti and has an aroma that’s as intoxicating as any tropical umbrella drink.


It doesn’t come cheap either, real vanilla beans are expensive! You’d think that would garner them some sort of respect, but no. In comparison, you don’t hear people calling caviar or truffles ordinary, do you? If you think vanilla’s so plain, why don’t you try growing it in your backyard? It’ll fit in perfectly next to your caviar pond and truffle garden. Call me when it’s ready. I won’t hold my breath. I’ll be at home making vanilla bean ice cream, and possibly drowning some of it in brandied cherries…



And I can do that with vanilla, (add other foods to it), because far from being ordinary, vanilla is the biggest complementary flavour in the world. It’s got versatility that you can only dream of. Oh, and it’s been around. I’ve seen vanilla hook up with fruits, nuts, coffee, tea, ice cream, yogurt, candy and I can’t even tell you all of the baked goods she’s been with. She’s not easy though. Most certainly not. First you have to get a hold of her, don’t fall for the imitation stuff. There are tons of imposters but only one vanilla. She’s long and lean, flexible, full of goodness and a touch mysterious. And although her scent is available to anyone who passes her by, to get a taste will take time. You’ll have to coax it out of her gently. But when you finally do, it will be worth it. That vanilla is quite the catch so treat her well! And don’t ever think she’s ordinary.



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24 comments:

Cindy said...

Bravo, Brilynn! I love those tell-tale little flecks of seed, and am a firm believer that real vanilla desserts are wonderful and exotic things. This vegan vanilla cashew icecream was the first time vanilla really knocked my socks off!

Valli said...

A really good quality vanilla ice cream outshines all the others. Certainly not ordinary in flavour!!!

K & S said...

real vanilla is the way to go!

Lydia said...

Real vanilla beans are like nothing else -- fragrant and elegant. And real vanilla extract is nectar of the gods, too. I hate watching cooking shows where the "chef" (hah) uses those little bottles of imitation vanilla extract from the supermarket. The real thing is easier to find than ever before, thanks to good online sources, so there is no excuse for using the imitation stuff.

joey said...

Tell it like it is Brilynn! Vanilla is fabulous and that's that :) And you are right, it is a very complementary flavor...my favorite non-dessert vanilla use? In salad dressing! Just put a few drops into a basic vinaigrette and it's transformed :)

nicisme said...

I adore vanilla and this is lovely!
Great post!

Margaret said...

I second everything Valli has said!

Deborah said...

We only had the imitation stuff growing up, but I remember when I bought my first "real" bottle of vanilla extract - I have never gone back!! And the actual beans?? I would use them constantly if I could afford it!!

Your ice cream looks perfect!

selin çağlayan said...

Hey :) I love the way you express your thoughts :) And you are right, nothing tastes like vanilla flavor and she is nowhere near ordinary. Even better than cohocolate. :)

Love,

selin (www.selincaglayan.com)

veron said...

I used to think I'd prefer chocolate to vanilla all the time but after I've had my first vanilla bean that totally changed. Now, I love them both equally.

Abby said...

I love vanilla ice cream - it's the most perfect kind if you ask me! And don't forget ... you can wear vanilla, too. I know my grandmother and Great Aunt Maggie always dabbed a little behind their ears when they had the bottle out. So cute!

lynn said...

Gorgeous vanilla ice cream! May I have a scoop, please? Even though I certainly don't need it. Maybe we could do a trade. Or an ice cream social.

Claire said...

Honestly, I prefer vanilla over chocolate! :-) I know, very un-female. I love the little black specks.

Maria said...

You are never ordinary:) Great post! Vanilla is a classic, you can never go wrong!

Quellia said...

Vanilla ice cream is a favorite in my home, but vanilla in lots of things is just weird. Last week I saw vanilla flavored vodka and someone asked me if I would use it to make vanilla extract. Duh!

Cynthia said...

Real vanilla ice cream is outstanding and ordinary? not a word to describe you, the food you make nor this ice cream.

JEP said...

Where do you buy your vanilla beans & what kind tastes the best?

Kevin said...

Looks good. I like the flecks of vanilla in the ice cream. I have yet to try making vanilla ice cream with vanilla beans, but it is on my list of things to try.

Ellie said...

YES!! Finally, someone sticks up for the vanilla bean! I absolutely adore vanilla, so I get upset when people pass it up because they see it as plain and boring!

Syrie said...

Brilynn, this looks marvellous. Thank you for sharing. I love vanilla and cherries!

Elle said...

Gorgeous bowl of vanilla and cherries...not at all plain...but your writing in this post is even better. A great defense of vanilla!

Amy said...

Sometimes all you need is vanilla ice cream! I've never purchased any real vanilla beans because of the price.

Kelly-Jane said...

Real vanilla ice cream, one of the very best!

Dolores said...

Thank you. Thank YOU. THANK YOU. :) I get frustrated when I hear vanilla described as plain and/or ordinary. True vanilla flavor and the "pale white" flavor of some commercial vanilla ice creams are two very different animals.