My first ice cream that I remember having was Breyer’s vanilla ice cream at about age six. I don’t distinctly remember liking it but I can’t imagine I didn’t. The stuff is creamy, not too sweet and with a mellow flavor I’d never tasted before, vanilla. A love affair was born.
These days vanilla gets a bad rap. Among modern members of today’s pseudo-intelligensia, vanilla has come to mean bland, boring, undifferentiated, average, conventional. Unkinky sex is called vanilla sex. Tastes that correspond with the mainstream are called vanilla tastes. Vanilla means dull, possibly stupid, and 100% inexperienced. Behold the below ad pounding this notion into the ground.
The ad claims “It could use some spice.” Interesting. First off, Vanilla is a spice. It’s the second most expensive spice in the world after Saffron which is, to this day, worth around $1,500 a pound. Secondly, that t-shirt just screams “justify my existence!”
But people want chocolate because they’re constantly told chocolate is sexy, that it’s exotic and powerful, that it’s an aphrodisiac. Movies like ‘Chocolat’ extoll it’s virility and potent mystical sex powers available to all of us if we’d only reach out beyond our vanilla experience. Then, and only then, might we finally become members of the great adventurous population that is not only spontaneous but joyfully irreverent. Then we might be trailblazers and thrill seekers, beautiful and popular and, most importantly, experienced.
This is nonsense. Chocolate is the Bon Iver of flavors, made from cacao picked by poor African farmers who’ve never tasted it. It’s the most popular flavor of ice cream in the United States meaning that it’s in no way exotic or undiscovered or misunderstood. It’s also not an aphrodisiac. That claim is made every time chocolate makers want to appeal to the tendency of female consumers to indulge in “guilty pleasures” in the most profoundly marketed act of sensual conformity known to mankind. This, chocolate lovers call naughty.
Has there ever been anything more boring than this attitude?
Is chocolate a flavor so insecure in its number one position on the top of the flavor heap that its vendors and partakers have to continually remind themselves of how special it is? Vanilla needs no such false accolades. Vanilla is amazing enough on its own. Smooth, calming with a natural musk, it’s the flavor of those secure in their own lives without the need to brag or justify their own choices to others. Vanilla lovers enjoy while chocolate lovers spend all their time talking about how much they enjoy.
Never needing to be the star, vanilla makes things better, it compliments other things while chocolate is overbearing, dominating the palette like a college student dominates dinner table conversation during Winter Break (yes, we all know you just learned that).
Don’t subscribe to notions of false exoticism and false eroticism like a housewife who thinks “Shades of Grey” is just so so sexy. Enjoy the real deal, a flavor that’s exactly what it claims to be without the trappings, not a branded notion claiming it can make you feel something you’ve never felt. Vanilla isn’t boring nor is it stupid. It’s amazing and real and immediate and has always been incredible all on its own.
Own your inner and outer vanilla, it’s delicious.