Day 183: Take a shot of vanilla

March 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

Few things taste as good as they smell.That is one of the many lessons I’ve learned from the Novice du Jour.

I’m a huge fan of vanilla extract. It reminds me of my dad’s homemade pancakes, which I wake up to every Sunday when I’m back at home. Vanilla is the not-so-secret ingredient that makes them particularly mouthwatering.

One of the things I learned when I was at the flavor chemistry lab a few weeks ago is that part of being a good cook is understanding the base elements of every flavor. Vanilla tastes delicious in ice cream and smells delicious in baked goods, so I figured I’d see if it would taste as good by itself.

The USDA requires that a solution be 35 percent alcohol to be called “pure vanilla,” and Stephanie and I always wondered if there were some weird people who get drunk off of vanilla extract. After tasting it myself, I can say that is very unlikely. Not only is vanilla morbidly expensive, it tastes awful.

I actually feel a little bit nauseous now. The only positive thing I can see coming out of this is that when Steph gets home tonight, she’ll finally think my breath smells good.

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