It’s harder than you might imagine to get the real essence of the Vanilla Bean. And cleaning your fridge with the stuff is way more evocative than you’d think from whiffing the synthetic grot that is most “vanilla essence.” The real thing – this is just one example – is so totally worth getting your hands on because it is SO magic.
A la saffron, vanilla was once more valuable than gold – it has it’s own dark & torrid history/mythology – linked by legend with a lost princess-Persephone-style bride of the MesoAmericas, it was bought to America by the conqueror Cortez but they could not cultivate it until a then 12 year old slave boy named Edmond Albius figured out how to hand-pollinate vanilla. I would LOVE to be able to say that he lived happily and prospered amidst his gloriously scented vanilla plantation but twas not so! It has long been a tale of exploitation.
The real essence is an aphrodisiac – truly, i have tried this and i don’t know if it’s because i smell like a cupcake or not but vanilla is a POTENT lure-all kind of an aphrodisiac. Ylang-Ylang’s vibe is more Uranian and urbane & Rose makes one feel Queenly – only Vanilla works to draw them all in….It has other medical effects, still being studied. One says it is calming- the next that it increases adrenaline.
The real vanilla is traditionally part of a fast-money fix along with the essential oil of cinnamon & you burn and/or wear them both in a blend. I add vanilla to rose, patchouli, grapefruit and ylang-ylang to make a mix I call Venusian 9. It is awesome but you have to watch that one doesn’t tip in too much vanilla – it wants to dominate & it is a plant of Pluto.
AND – yes – REAL vanilla is fab in cooking but i am so un-flash a cook that is been perhaps less than ten times that i’ve ever used vanilla pod/beans in cooking…thoughts? The association of the word “vanilla” with lukewarm sex or whatever as in something tempered down is SO odd! Vanilla is WILD – snort some of the real essence and you will totally get it. Anyone who thinks they are so smart for referring dismissively to something as VANILLA WHATEVER is ill-informed…
They are maybe talking about the synthetic vanilla? The true vanilla bean is magic.