For the longest time, I did not know that vanilla was a flavor.

Oh, I knew that it existed; I just didn’t realize it was a flavor.

Chocolate?  Now that’s an unmistakeable flavor.  Once you’ve had it, you know.

And quite honestly, as a child, I never preferred a dessert option more than when it had chocolate in it.

But here’s the thing: Options were always posed like, “Do you want chocolate or vanilla?

In my mind, that was like asking, “Do you want chocolate or the absence of chocolate?  Do you want a dessert that tastes like something or a dessert that tastes like nothing?  Do you want your ice cream to be cold and flavorful or just cold?”

I mean, it’s not like there were ever vanilla chips in a rice crispy treat or in a cookie!  It was always chocolate chips.  So being that vanilla didn’t make the same kind of appearances as chocolate did, considering that it didn’t manifest itself in all the same forms as chocolate could, I simply had no idea that it was really and truly a flavor.  Again, I thought people were using ‘vanilla’ as a term used to indicate the opposite of chocolate or the absence of chocolate.

Why would anyone pay the same price for fewer ingredients?

Why would anyone bother purchasing a dessert if there’s no dessert element to it?  Why not just buy a potato?

It wasn’t until I was E.I.G.H.T.E.E.N years old that I learned something about vanilla beans and vanilla flavoring.  Yes, it took that long to put two and two together.  (Sometimes geniuses lack common sense, okay?  In my youth, if I had to conclude anything outside of the guidance of a text book, I usually came to the wrong conclusion.)

Today, I’m pleased to announce that I can enjoy many varieties of desserts, with or without chocolate.  The vanilla ones are great, as are the fruity ones and the buttery ones.

Perhaps I was better left in ignorance…


  1. April 5, 2012

    now I’m hungry …. and feel like baking something …..

  2. April 5, 2012

    You are sooooooo funny! Never knew that about you.

  3. April 5, 2012


  4. April 9, 2012

    In English, many expressions involve the word vanilla when describing ‘plain’. A vanilla personality, for instance. You weren’t far off in the day, my dear. Some definitions of the word are: boring, unexciting, normal, conventional,

    Then we get older and taste and smell the wonderful vanilla bean and it’s none of the above!

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