Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Vanilla Viagra?

The colloquialism "plain vanilla", which implies boring, prosaic, and undesirable is simply wrong.   
Vanilla is among the most expensive flavors in the world, a by-product of the exotic and exorbitantly pricey orchid plant.    It is difficult to cultivate, labor intensive to process, and grows in remote, inaccessible locations, .

Vanilla is also reputed to possess amatory properties--perhaps based on a myth traced back to the Totonac people, who were the first to produce this luscious flavor.  They inhabited the Mazatlan Valley in what is now Mexico.   As the story goes, Totonac Princess Xanat, a divine royal, was forbidden by her father to marry a mortal youth.   Displeased and rebellious, the impetuous lovers fled into the
forest, where they were promptly captured by Dear old Dad's henchmen.  They were then beheaded, and where the blood dripped from their severed necks, a tropical orchid (aka vanilla plant) sprouted.
 
Later, European physicians touted vanilla as a cure for impotence, and Thomas Jefferson (reputed to have been a bit of a Revolutionary ladies' man) is credited with bringing vanilla to the budding American Republic after sampling it during his diplomatic foray to France.






For top-quality vanilla extracts and beans, visit Jonathan Best or The Spice Terminal.  For superb, ready made samples of vanilla in action, visit one of the Market's superb bakeries. 





As we're discussing vanilla, we couldn't resist posting the following blast from the past. For us, this vid will have the opposite effect discussed above, but good for a chuckle, no?

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