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
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.