There we were seated in the social hall, waiting for a final rehearsal to begin for our round of Christmas performances.

One of the baritones was nibbling away at a takeout carton of unmarked ice cream – as he admitted, from a top-of-the-line local hamburger joint. “I’m a New Englander,” he explained. “I eat ice cream all year.”

It was vanilla. I heard the echoes of mocking from a girlfriend’s mother way back, quite the New Yorker, something about being unimaginative.

I don’t care if she was a endocrinologist, she was so wrong.

As taste goes, what can be more heavenly than pure vanilla?

Actually, the simple things done well can be the best indicators of quality, even sophistication. Care to begin that list?

On the other hand, there are many ways to cover up flaws and errors. Just keep adding more doodads and trinkets. Not so when it comes to simplicity, which is all about truth.

If you think all vanilla’s the same, by the way, think again. Madagascar beans are the most popular, for good reason. But Tahitian is more floral and truly delightful, as I discovered in a gelato served at the Union Bluff hotel in York Beach, Maine. And then the Mexican beans have developed their own devoted following.

3 thoughts on “DON’T KNOCK VANILLA

  1. Ah — so the ice cream obsession is a New England thing. I married a Nutmegger, and I’ve never understood why his entire family is so ga-ga about ice cream. Thank you for shedding some light on this mystery.

    I’m a pie person myself, but I completely agree with you about vanilla. The only boring vanilla is cheap, artificial vanilla.

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