Whilst tramping about the internet lands today, I have learned that:
1. Mercury has been discovered in about half of all high fructose corn syrup. A study last January found mercury in about a third of brand-name products like Coke, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, Smuckers jam, Hunts ketchup. Oh, and guess what, neither the industry nor the FDA is taking any particular action, so have fun playing Mercury Roulette.
2. I have a strong desire to make soap. I have all these vanilla beans that so badly want to get inside a batch of luxuriously rich soap.
3. Hand pollination of vanilla orchids was discovered by a 12-year-old slave boy named Edmond Albius. His method, which is still used today, enabled the entire vanilla industry outside of its native Mexico, but Albius lived and died in poverty. Vanilla orchids only bloom for one day, so each plant must be inspected daily. Later, they are inspected daily in order to catch a similarly narrow window for hand-harvesting. Historically, vanilla beans have sold wholesale at $20/kilo, but in 2004 a typhoon drove the price up to $500/kilo. The price has settled back to about $40/kilo now. I paid $5 for about 12 pods in Bali because Indonesia is a big producer.
4. Cooks Illustrated tested imitation vanilla versus the real thing and was horrified to discover that people couldn’t tell the difference in baked goods.
5. To make ice cream, all you need is a small container that fits in a big container, plus salt, ice, and motion. For example, you can put all the ice cream ingredients in a small coffee can, seal it, pack a large coffee can with ice and salt, and throw the contraption around at a picnic for 20 minutes. I love magic.
What fruits pair well with vanilla?